Women Researchers on Data Equity Panel

June 13, 2022

Two researchers recently participated in a panel discussion on Algorithms and Data for Equity at the Women in Data Science Conference at Stanford University, showcasing the importance of diversity in this critical research area.

Jessica Granderson, then serving as Director for Building Technology on the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Ling Jin joined with University of California Los Angeles’ Tierra Bills and Stanford moderator Jenny Suckale for the panel.

The Women in Data Science Conference was part of a global effort to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and to support women in the field. The conference held at Stanford was one of more than 200 regional events convened in more than 60 countries on March 7, 2022.

The Algorithms and Data for Equity panel discussion focused on the role algorithms, models, and data play in providing equitable access to clean air, comfortable buildings, and better quality of life – and what role they can play in moving toward greater equity.

Discussion centered around the need to customize models for different scenarios, finding ways to grapple with the complexities of a variety of behaviors and lack of specific data in different socioeconomic and cultural contexts. 

Jin has been using air quality modeling tools and atmospheric sensitive analysis to come up with pollution control strategies that help disadvantaged communities in California. She works to bring behavioral insights and models into building energy and transportation research, and said in the panel discussion: “understanding the opportunities and restraints that shape the decision context is the first step to an equitable distribution of resources.” 

Granderson’s work has focused on the use of data and algorithms to deliver healthy, resilient, low-carbon building operations. 

“From an equity lens, we have real considerations about health and air quality: poor conditions that expose us to mold, and the heat island effect in black and brown communities across the country ... Who is it that gets to participate in this new clean energy economy? Who has access to and ownership of clean energy assets? And who is able to reap the benefits of the rooftop solar, the smart and connected equipment out there?” Granderson said during the presentation.

Jin and Granderson are both researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Watch the entire panel discussion on YouTube.


Kyra Epstein