Today we announced a $1 million gift to Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science (SCS). The new fund – coined Machine Learning for Social Good – will provide opportunities for faculty and students to apply their expertise in data science and machine learning to initiatives that benefit the public sector.
“Social enterprises are tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges – things like combating human trafficking, improving access to education and fighting crime in city neighborhoods,” said Brad Keywell, CEO and Co-Founder of Uptake. “Data driven insights can provide solutions to each of these complex, systemic issues. By providing advanced data science resources and machine learning tools to these organizations, we’re enabling them to take more informed actions to expand their ability to create impact for social good.”
“Machine learning and data science have already contributed immensely to improving education, public health, economic development, international aid and other pressing social needs,” said Roni Rosenfeld, professor of machine learning and language technologies at CMU, who will oversee use of the gift. “That’s why this support from Uptake is so critical and why we will engage faculty members and students from across SCS to bring forth our best talent to new applications.”
CMU will use the fund to enable research projects for non-governmental organizations, non-profits and government agencies. For example, Rosenfeld has already used the funding to support research on the topic of influenza (flu) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Each year, annual flu epidemics with variable timing and intensity occur in the United States and around the world,” said Matthew Biggerstaff of CDC’s Applied Research and Modeling Team. “Early insights into the timing and intensity of the flu season could be very useful to public health officials to inform vaccination campaigns, communicating with the public, allocating resources and implementing strategies to combat the spread of flu disease.”
The gift to CMU supplements the work we’re already doing through beyond.uptake. Launched in 2016, beyond.uptake is a philanthropic and civic innovation arm that leverages the power of data to solve critical problems for social sector organizations. Its current applications will deliver a college matching solution for underserved students, an anti-poaching solution in Sub-Saharan Africa, and anti-human trafficking solution on the Nepal-India border. beyond.uptake also empowers data leaders through mentorship with its Data Fellows program, a six month fellowship designed to connect data professionals at non-profits, foundations, and social enterprises with experts in data science.
Learn more about those efforts at beyond.uptake.com. For more information about our gift to CMU, please contact Megan Parker.