A Cyberinfrastructure for Big Data Transportation Engineering

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Islam, Md Johirul
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Sharma, Anuj
Rajan, Hridesh
Professor and Department Chair of Computer Science
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Computer Science

Computer Science—the theory, representation, processing, communication and use of information—is fundamentally transforming every aspect of human endeavor. The Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University advances computational and information sciences through; 1. educational and research programs within and beyond the university; 2. active engagement to help define national and international research, and 3. educational agendas, and sustained commitment to graduating leaders for academia, industry and government.

The Computer Science Department was officially established in 1969, with Robert Stewart serving as the founding Department Chair. Faculty were composed of joint appointments with Mathematics, Statistics, and Electrical Engineering. In 1969, the building which now houses the Computer Science department, then simply called the Computer Science building, was completed. Later it was named Atanasoff Hall. Throughout the 1980s to present, the department expanded and developed its teaching and research agendas to cover many areas of computing.

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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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Big data-driven transportation engineering has the potential to improve utilization of road infrastructure, decrease traffic fatalities, improve fuel consumption, and decrease construction worker injuries, among others. Despite these benefits, research on big data-driven transportation engineering is difficult today due to the computational expertise required to get started. This work proposes BoaT, a transportation-specific programming language, and its big data infrastructure that is aimed at decreasing this barrier to entry. Our evaluation, that uses over two dozen research questions from six categories, shows that research is easier to realize as a BoaT computer program, an order of magnitude faster when this program is run, and exhibits 12–14× decrease in storage requirements.


This is a pre-print of an article published as Islam, Md Johirul, Anuj Sharma, and Hridesh Rajan. "A Cyberinfrastructure for Big Data Transportation Engineering." Journal of Big Data Analytics in Transportation 1, no. 1 (2019): 83-94. The final authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.1007/s42421-019-00006-8. Posted with permission.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019