Melissa Bica ’14 has created a data mining tool called RendezView. Using Twitter data, the program helps data analysts by displaying relationships, patterns, and new insights that are often lost or missed when looking through a database or an Excel spreadsheet.
As a Computer Science PhD student at University of Colorado Boulder, Bica studies crisis informatics—a type of human-centered computing with real-world applications for social benefit. Bica got her first taste of using computer science for social benefit in a class at Santa Clara taught by Silvia Figueira, an associate professor of computer engineering and director of the on-campus Frugal Innovation Lab. Under the direction of Figueria, Bica and her classmates created computer applications for social benefit and the first of now many applications that aid the homeless.
Another experience, which was one of the most significant parts of her undergraduate career, was the fellowship she did through the Global Social Benefit Institute–which is housed under the newly renamed Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. In the summer of 2013, Bica traveled to rural India where she worked with two social enterprises, Anudip and iMerit, to provide technology training to women.
According to Bica, RendezView is still in the prototype phase, but ideally she would like to see it developed into a website that would allow users to upload their own data and run the program on it.