UM Today: The human architect
POURANG IRANI (RIGHT) WITH STUDENTS INSPECTING A SPATIO-TEMPORAL DATASET ON A LARGE SCREEN DISPLAY
Since the dawn of time, humans have navigated the world through our five senses. Using pervasive technologies already at our disposal, computer scientist Pourang Irani is developing a sixth—one that he believes will make us “truly human.”
True to its name, ubiquitous computing and its devices are everywhere—our phones, appliances, vehicles—gathering data about us and our environment.
As the presence of computing has evolved from the mainframe, to the desktop computer, then to mobile devices and the Internet of Things, it has created a need for people to access information anywhere and at any time.
As a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Ubiquitous Analytics funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Irani is focused on enhancing our human capabilities by providing data in ways that will help us make better decisions and navigate our day-to-day.
“We say we’re a very data-intensive society, but we are really only scratching the surface because we don’t have the tools to actually be able to look at that information and get it when we need it to be able to change something. Theoretically, it can be collected; but in reality, it’s a far cry.”