Friday, January 31, 2014

Transporting the Future

I started 2014 with a trip to Savannah with the family, my first exploration of Georgia outside the Atlanta region. Savannah has a rich history and each of its many squares tells a story. But the large container ships going down the Savannah River on their way to the largest port in the Southeast tells a more modern story. The shipping container may very well have been the most important invention of the 20th century (I hope they don't take away my CS membership card for saying that). The state is working on expanding the depth of the port which will make the state of Georgia and even more important transportation hub for the country.

Georgia did get a black eye in transportation this week due to an unexpected snowstorm Tuesday afternoon. Some of our staff did not get home until Wednesday and Georgia Tech remained closed until Friday. How do you get millions of people home safely and relatively quickly when a storm hits?

Transportation is a process, not unlike computation. Whether it be containers in a port, or cars in a snowstorm we have congestion, routing issues, security, optimization, and lots of problems to debug. Computer science or just computational thinking can help us reason about transportation issues and so much more. We just need to find the right ways to apply them.

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