Research Projects

Social Needs Marketplace, Centre for Social Services Engineering, University of Toronto
The Social Needs Marketplace will be an online resource that provides a more efficient and effective means of distributing goods and services to vulnerable populations. We focus our research on  those who live below the poverty line, the infirm and seniors.
Our approach is to redistribute new and used goods and services in order to enable the "demand" side to make their needs known, and to enable the "supply" side to become more visible to those in need.
Using Artificial Intellligence methods such as ontologies, contraint-based reasoning and machine learning, the Marketplace will discover what people need, and suggest matches to those services that best meet their requirements.
The PolisGnosis Project, Centre for Social Services Engineering, University of Toronto
Cities use a variety of metrics to evaluate themselves.  With the introduction of ISO 37120, that contains 100 indicators for measuring a city’s quality of life and sustainability, it is now possible to consistently measure and compare cities, assuming they adhere to the standard. With the adoption of Open Data policies, cities are now publishing vast amounts of data which can potentially be used to analyse their performance. Unfortunately, much of this open data lacks standard formats and vocabularies to enable cross city analysis.  Nor do tools exist for automating the analysis of this data.
The goal of our project is to automate how and why a city’s indicators change over time and how and why cities differ from each other at the same time, in order to discover the root causes of differences.
New processes for the delivery of a city's social services are often introduced based upon theories and policies that have not been tested. Hence, the recipients of these services end up being the "guinea pigs".  There are two problems with this approach. FIrstly, we do not really understand how the new policies will affect the recipients of these services. Second, we face the difficulty in understanding the results due to variations in the implementation, recipients and service providers.
The goal of our project is to enable the evaluation of new social service policies and processes before they are subject to live trials.  In particular, we need to determine how these changes in policies affect different types of social service clients by means of simulation.