Smart and Connected Communities and Distributed Sensing Community of Practice

What we are doing: Our mission is to translate data science and engineering for real problems addressing smart campuses, cities, and communities. Examples of initial projects in this CoP (some funded by the NSF or TDAI Seed Grants) include:

  • Community-driven data engineering for opioid abuse in rural Midwest
  • Smart services for transportation, food, and healthcare support for preventing Infant Mortality, with customized delivery for community subgroups
  • Data driven science based on sensing of stress events and, more generally, factors associated with social determinants of health
  • Enabling active transportation by discriminating and understanding activity patterns of pedestrians and cyclists on campus

These efforts involve more than bringing together technologists and domain experts. They proactively engage stakeholders from policy, governance, law, privacy, cybersecurity, outcomes assessment, and/or user communities. Team leadership is shared when convergent advances across disciplines are needed for realizing shared goals. TDAI offers several facilitation mechanisms and resources for the CoP that help to bootstrap and support large teams, which might otherwise be challenging to effect from within individual departments or domain-specific centers.

Why we are doing it: A convergence of diverse themes has motivated this CoP. First is the exponential growth in our ability to sense fine-grain aspects of people, things, and environments. Then there is the ability to harness the resulting data, or better still, to “make” the desired information, on the Internet of Things. Open sharing of collations of data unleashes a network effect in the data itself, from which previously unanticipated value propositions can be discovered. This ability leverages advances in networking and computing, not just in the cloud but also at the sensing edge. It incorporates instrumenting layers of machine-learned intelligence across sensor-gateway-cloud-controller-actuator cyber physical systems, to not only automate inferences but also understand phenomena, automate manual tasks and amplify human/organizational processes. In turn, all this allows solutions to be created, validated, and refined in the field itself, rather than in the lab or in small pilots. A CoP with access to TDAI resources (access to datasets, Data Commons/Makery, cloud resources, industry partnerships, and space) provides the framework for enabling translation around these convergent themes.

Why at Ohio State: Our CoP is poised to leverage TDAI’s partnerships with centers, institutes, and discovery themes such as ESL and CISM in sensing and IoT; IMR in materials, CAR, TRC, and CRIS/UTC in mobility; CURA in urban studies, and SRE in sustainability. OARnet and OCIO are helpful in access to network and cybersecurity facilities. We draw upon broader connections with other CoPs in TDAI, with Research Coordination Networks at OSU, in the Midwest and beyond, and work with translational, commercialization, and survey support organizations such as CCTS, TCO, TechColumbus, and CHRR. Likewise, CoP principals are actively involved in the strategic planning in Smart@Ohio State, and we anticipate CoP members making substantial contribution to related activities. While the CoP’s ambitions are to have national and global societal impact through its translation efforts, what could be a better place to start than in Columbus itself? Several principals in the CoP have been involved in Smart Columbus since its conception and are actively contributing to City projects which are funded by the Department of Transportation/Vulcan Foundation, and by OSU.

Faculty Lead

Anish Arora


Interested in joining this community of practice? Email TDAI