Dr. Kira Radinsky, 26, who started studying at the Technion at 15, wins recognition from MIT for pioneering software that finds historical patterns to point the way ahead.
The Times of Israel (August 24) — Prophecy may still be restricted to those qualified to appear in the Bible, but modern technology has given us the next best thing – the ability to make a very accurate educated guess about what may happen in the future. Work in that area is being led by Dr. Kira Radinsky, an Israeli web technology researcher, and for her accomplishments, Radinsky has been added to a prestigious list of top technology figures under 35 years of age, recently published by an official publication of MIT.
And at 26, Radinsky, who was educated at the Technion and did her research work at Microsoft, is one of the younger people on the list – meaning that she is likely to achieve a lot more before she’s done.
The “35 Under 35” list has been published by the MIT Technology Review Magazine since 1999, and it showcases the people expected to have an important impact on the future based on their work. A panel of judges reviews researchers’ work – hundreds apply for the list each year – and determines which researchers are doing work that will most significantly affect the world in the coming decades. Among previous winners have been Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and chief Apple designer Jonathan Ive.
Radinsky, along with her partner Eric Horvitz, co-director at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, developed software that parses the web, seeking patterns — in news and historical archive sites for hints on patterns that have led to outbreaks of disease, deaths, and riots in the past – and comparing those patterns to current conditions. It’s a very sophisticated form of data mining, enabling deep analysis of disparate events and seeing how they repeat themselves time after time.
A paper published by Radinksy and Horvitz provides a good example: In 2012, Cuba suffered a major outbreak of cholera, its first in 130 years. Authorities there were totally unprepared to deal with the situation; according to news reports, doctors had declared states of emergency in numerous areas (although there was little official comment from the Cuban government).