Han Bao

Han Bao, PhD student, informatics

Betters urban policy through big data

“Han has devoted herself to solving important societal problems using GeoAI and spatial data mining techniques. She has published over ten papers in total in her general research direction, where one of her co-authored papers received the Best Paper Award at the 2021 IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM), a prestigious and well-recognized international forum in data mining and knowledge discovery.” -Xun Zhou, associate professor, business analytics

Hometown: Nanjing, China

Faculty mentor/advisor: Xun Zhou, PhD, Henry B. Tippie Research Fellow in Business Analytics, associate professor, Tippie College of Business

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD in informatics; Expected to graduate in May 2024.

Please describe your research: I focus on solving space and time big-data analytics problems through data mining, machine learning, and AI techniques, especially issues related to smart cities and public health. Inspired by the human mobility pattern changes due to the pandemic, we started to learn how to estimate human mobility responses through big data under different conditions. For example, the human mobility pattern changes under stay-at-home orders during COVID-19.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Human mobility estimation is crucial during the pandemic due to its significant guidance for policymakers to make non-pharmaceutical interventions. Understanding the human mobility patterns during such special events would help urban planners and policymakers to better allocate urban facilities and make related policies.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I participated in research for our lab group projects during my first semester at the University of Iowa. I began my own research project during my second semester year here.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Since geographic information system (GIS) is interdisciplinary, I have had the opportunity to pursue my PhD degree in informatics focusing on spatiotemporal data-mining field. Through courses and research at the University of Iowa, I have learned, implemented, and developed deep-learning approaches to human mobility response estimation problems. These research experiences equipped me with programming and writing skills and exposed me to advanced AI techniques. Participating in group discussions and seminars has made me more successful by broadening insights into possible research interests and establishing myself.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I hope to continue working on spatiotemporal research as a professor.

Banner location: Downtown—Linn St., in front of the Public Library