GFURR Seminar Series

2016

RETURN TO EVENTS

OVERVIEW

Each semester The Global Forum hosts scholars who are working on a wide array of issues that are related to the overarching theme of resilience. Past seminars have touched on a variety of projects including: economic resilience, disaster response, coastal development, pipeline siting, and transportation systems, among other issues. The seminars bring together faculty, students, and affiliated scholars and are intended to initiate a conversation amongst the academic communities at Virginia Tech and beyond who are working on various facets of resilience.

  • Can Collecting, Archiving, Analyzing, and Accessing Webpages and Tweets Help Enhance Resilience Research and Education? | February 11, 2016

    Ed Fox, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Digital Library Research Laboratory

    February 11, 2016 | 3:30pm

    ABSTRACT

    Discussions on urban and regional resilience are in large part captured on the WWW or in social media, including Twitter. Understanding and contributing to those discussions could be aided by archiving, analyzing, and interacting with collections of relevant webpages and tweets. The Integrated Digital Event Archiving and Library (IDEAL) team, funded by NSF (grant IIS - 1319578), would like to explore collaboration with GFURR in this regard. IDEAL emerged out of a small NSF-funded effort related to archiving after the April 16, 2007 shootings (IIS-0736055), followed by the NSF-funded Crisis, Tragedy, and Recovery Network project (IIS-0916733). CTRnet focused on natural or man-made disasters, and included, as does IDEAL, partnering with the Internet Archive, so there will be a permanent record on important events. IDEAL makes available a big-data computer cluster to manage and provide support for analysis and access to over 1 billion tweets (across about 1000 collections, many related to important local, national, and global events and concerns) and over 11 terabytes of webpages. We invite researchers and educators to utilize what has been collected, help us identify and collect about other matters, and to test and improve our tools to aid those interested in the resulting content.

     

    The IDEAL team includes co-PIs Edward A. Fox, Director of the Digital Library Research Laboratory and Professor in Computer Science; Andrea Kavanaugh, Acting Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction; Donald Shoemaker, Professor in  Sociology; and Steven Sheetz, Professor in Accounting and Information Systems. GRAs Mohamed Magdy Farag and Sunshin Lee continue to support our ongoing research on improving intelligent and interactive information systems, as well as a growing number of collaborators interested in working with IDEAL.

  • The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech: Collaborative Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Research & Training | February 22, 2016

    Dr. William Hopkins, Director of the Global Change Center, Virginia Tech

    February 22, 2016 | 3:00pm

    ABSTRACT

    Virginia Tech recently chartered the Global Change Center (GCC), a cross campus initiative that currently involves faculty and students from seven Colleges on campus.  The GCC’s mission is to address the challenges to the environment and society resulting from global change by providing a framework that encourages, facilitates, and rewards interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach across the intellectual landscape of Virginia Tech. With funding from the Fralin Life Science Institute and the Virginia Tech Graduate School, the GCC is blending the diverse expertise of ~45 faculty to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues related to society’s footprint on the environment, including invasive species, pollution, climate change, urbanization and deforestation, and disease. Much of our translational research is currently focused on developing solutions to these problems including active projects on: improving water quality, resolving antibiotic resistance, combating invasive insects, plants, and diseases, and developing sustainable agricultural and energy technologies. The GCC has a highly interactive Ph.D. program with students working on these problems in eight countries. The GCC is collaborating with other groups on campus to advance our collective research goals and science-policy objectives, and to create novel experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates in Washington D.C. This talk will provide an overview of some of our recent research, training, and public engagement activities, with the hope of advancing dialogue on ways that the GCC and members of GFURR can collaborate.

  • Text Analytics: Software, Case Studies, and Applications to Resilience Research | March 03, 2016

    Dr. Alan Abrahams and Rich Gruss, Associate Professor of Business Information Technology; PhD Candidate, BIT

    March 03, 2016 | 3:30pm

    ABSTRACT

    In this session, we will present Pamplin’s proprietary text analytics software: Pamplin Text Analytics Toolbox for Excel (PamTAT), and Pamplin’s large-scale web-based collaborative tagging tool (PamTag).  We will talk about the application of these tools to defect discovery from online reviews, with case studies such as safety surveillance in the toy industry, and service level surveillance in the hotel and airline industries.  Finally, we will consider possible applications to resilience research, such as detecting and categorizing service interruptions and service restoration from large volumes of textual consumer postings, and invite audience members to brainstorm research questions and collaborative project opportunities.

    LOCATION

    Global Forum Conference Room

    250 South Main Street, Suite 312

    Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

    CONNECT ONLINE

  • Improving the Pre-Positioning of Disaster Resources for the American Red Cross | March 30, 2016

    Dr. Chris Zobel, R.B. Pamplin Professor

    March 30, 2016 | 3:30pm

    ABSTRACT

    One of the missions of the American Red Cross is to open shelters for populations impacted by natural disasters, and their ability to open these shelters in a timely manner is dependent on the pre-positioning of two key types of resources: trailers and caches.  In order to improve the process by which this is done, we are working with the Red Cross in Colorado and Wyoming to develop a mathematical model for determining proper trailer and cache location based on the well-known quantification of risk as the product of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability.  The Red Cross has traditionally relied on historic asset location and expert judgement to determine asset location in the past, and this analytic model is being developed to improve their ability to respond effectively in future disasters.

    LOCATION

    Global Forum Conference Room

    250 South Main Street, Suite 312

    Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

    CONNECT ONLINE

    https://vtgfurr.adobeconnect.com/zobel/

  • Agriculture, Off-Farm, Migration, & Social Protection Strategies to Increase Rural Household Resilience to Rainfall Shocks in Sub-Saharan Africa | April 07, 2016

    Dr. Bradford Mills, Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics Virginia Tech

    April 07, 2016 | 3:30pm

    ABSTRACT

    Rural households in East Africa operate in a risk filled environment that makes them vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity. This seminar presents research on the welfare costs that rainfall variability generates for rural households in Ethiopia and Zambia. The agricultural, off-farm labor, migration, and social safety net strategies that households employ to mitigate household welfare losses are also examined. The results are then used to draw implications for the design of integrated policies to increase

    household resiliency to climatic shocks and long-term climate change.

    LOCATION

    Global Forum Conference Room

    250 South Main Street, Suite 312

    Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

  • Bonding Bets: Unconventional Monetary Policy, Government Debt Management, and Pensions | November 17, 2016

    Giselle Datz, Associate Professor at School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

    November 17, 2016 | 3:30pm

    ABSTRACT

    Commonly the "pensions burden" is associated with rises in government debt in discussions about fiscal policy. Yet often neglected are the monetary policy dynamics that also underpin the debt-pensions nexus. In particular, a timely debate has emerged on how unconventional monetary policy (i.e., large bond purchases by central banks, known as quantitative easing) affect pension funds’ performance. Because these funds invest heavily in government bonds, the lower yields associated with QE increase the value of the funds’ liabilities and hence their deficits with a potentially negative impact on corporate dividends and stock valuations. The paper identifies and explains the connections between debt issuance and pension investments in the UK, tracking the debate on QE’s impact on British pension schemes. It is argued that the co-dependence between government bonds and pension funds’ investments is becoming more complex and politicized as a product of regulatory guidelines and government intervention in bond markets. This resonates with what the European Central Bank’s president, Mario Draghi, has called the challenge of technocratic "independence in [policy] interdependence". A conclusion is that macroeconomic policy making, particularly QE-type interventions, must contend with the now more pressing concerns of aging populations with insufficient and increasingly volatile savings.

    LOCATION

    Global Forum Conference Room

    250 South Main Street, Suite 312

    Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

 

globalforum@vt.edu

(540) 231-8320

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