"Creating New Sources of Data and Embedded Systems to Understand Cities" - Charlie Catlett

(presented at FASTER CoP on February 17, 2017)

About the Speaker:

Charlie Catlett is a Senior Computer Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, a Senior Fellow at the Argonne/University of Chicago Computation Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Charlie founded the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), an interdisciplinary center focused on developing methods and platforms for understanding cities. He leads the NSF-funded Array of Things project, establishing a network of 500 intelligent sensor units in Chicago.

Government Technology magazine named Charlie one of 25 “Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016 and in 2014 Crain’s Chicago Business recognized him as one of Chicago’s “Tech 50” technology leaders. Charlie is a Computer Engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Urbanization is one of the great challenges and opportunities of this century, inextricably tied to global challenges ranging from climate change to sustainable use of energy and natural resources, and from personal health and safety to accelerating innovation and education. There is a growing science community—spanning nearly every discipline—pursuing research related to these challenges.

The availability of urban data has increased over the past few years, in particular through open data initiatives, creating new opportunities for collaboration between academia and local government in areas ranging from scalable data infrastructure to tools for data analytics, along with challenges such as replicability of solutions between cities, integrating and validating data for scientific investigation, and protecting privacy.

For many urban questions, however, new data sources will be required with greater spatial and/or temporal resolution, driving innovation in the use of sensors in mobile devices as well as embedding intelligent sensing infrastructure in the built environment. Collectively these data sources also hold promise to begin to integrate computational models associated with individual urban sectors such as transportation, building energy use, or climate.

Catlett will discuss the work that Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago are doing in partnership with the City of Chicago and other cities through the Urban Center for Computation and Data, focusing in particular on new opportunities related to embedded systems and integrated data platforms.

To learn more about Faster Administration of Science and Technology Education and Research (FASTER) Community of Practice (CoP) please visit FASTER CoP home page.