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Projects in 2013–2014

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Cluster-Based Graph Algorithms for Biological Ontologies

Andrew J. Bernoff

Researchers catalog large volumes of data into biological ontologies, graphs that denote relationships between biological descriptors, such as indicating that cystic fibrosis affects the lungs. The Monarch Initiative developed a program that utilizes ontologies to compare genetic diseases across species. This Clinic focuses on designing and implementing a faster algorithm via thresholding, a method of reducing the required calculations by only looking at data that meets a given level of significance, which naturally lends itself to parallel computation.


  • Ki Wan Gkoo
  • Spencer Harris
  • Marina Johnson (Project Manager)
  • Ileane O'Leary
  • Kyle Roskamp

NationBuilder: Predictive Behavior Modeling for Community Organizing

Susan Martonosi
Mohamed Omar

NationBuilder creates community organizing systems to help governments, businesses, nonprofits, and politicians manage their campaigns and communities. NationBuilder's clients generate vast amounts of data, much of which is currently underutilized. NationBuilder would like us to rank their clients' constituents by how likely they are to carry out specific future actions, such as donating in a future campaign or voting for a particular candidate. Ultimately, this will allow NationBuilder's clients to derive more value from the data they already collect.


  • Michael Culhane
  • Joey Klonowski (Project Manager)
  • Greg Kronmiller
  • Mitul Verma

Palo Alto Research Center: Intelligent Workflow Diagnostics

Weiqing Gu

Processing big data often involves Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) workflows, whose operations clean, verify, and join multiple data sources into one output. For large input data, debugging these workflows becomes incredibly time-consuming. We designed a program, accessible to the data scientist user, which automates reasoning over and test performance for various parts of the workflow.


  • Andrew Gibiansky
  • Yonquian Li
  • Amanda Llewellyn (Project Manager)
  • Patrick Meehan
  • Jacob Morris-Knower

Walt Disney Animation Studios: Analysis and Visualization of Tool Usage in Animated Film Production

Talithia Williams

The technology department at Walt Disney Animation Studios logs large amounts of data tracking the actions of their tools and tasks of their users. They would like to mine this data for time-based patterns or correlations. To assist in extracting useful information from the data, we have created scripts that graph and visualize the data, and we have used these to investigate meaningful relationships between users and tool usage.


  • Travis Athougies
  • Ben Corr (Project Manager)
  • Michael Fox
  • David Scott