Data Points Podcast Episode 7 – Applied Math and City Data in Baltimore

“The problems and the data are alike in city work and astronomy,” according to this episode’s guest, Tamas Budavari, Assistant Professor of Applied Math and Statistics at Johns Hopkins University. Tamas is working to apply the same solutions he built to answer how the universe was formed to understand how housing becomes vacant and blighted in Baltimore* City.

Connecting Baltimore to his previous research was a bit of serendipity, according to Tamas. His support for the Johns Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative fostered this collaboration. Since starting to work with Baltimore Tamas has gained a broader understanding of the questions the city wants answered by its data. As a response, he’s creating a centralized database from which the city “can easily ask questions and answers come back right away.”

There are some snags, however, owing to a variety of formats and standards, and limited resources. Still, Tamas and his team are able to make connections to provide what he calls “common denominators” and move quickly to think about solutions for Baltimore.

*As Baltimore locals having a conversation, we fell into a comfortable habit that might leave our listeners confused. When Tamas talks about the city, he mentions “Station North” which is a arts and entertainment district constructed in an underpopulated part of town and “MICA” which is shorthand for the much lauded Maryland Institute of Art.

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