Umair Qazi presented his senior honors thesis on the topic of rapid damage assessment using social media at Meeting of the Minds 2018
Umair Qazi presented his senior honors thesis on the topic of rapid damage assessment using social media at Meeting of the Minds 2018

Information Systems alum co-authors award-winning research paper

Umair Qazi was part of a Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) team that won Best Paper for its investigation into rapidly detecting the damage from a disaster using social media data. Qazi, who now works with QCRI’s Crisis Computing team, graduated in 2018 from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university.

The team was awarded the 2020 Best CoRe (Completed Research) Paper by the ISCRAM (Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management) Association for the paper, “Rapid Damage Assessment Using Social Media Images by Combining Human and Machine Intelligence.”

“I am so excited to work in a field where I can do research that has a real-world impact,” said Qazi. His work involves engineering solutions for early detection of disasters, which was also the focus of his undergraduate thesis at CMU-Q.

The award-winning research was conducted in partnership with Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team in the US. When Hurricane Dorian made landfall in September 2019, the team used an automatic image processing system to identify the extent of damage in images shared on Twitter. The team processed roughly 280,000 images, and the system achieved an accuracy of 76%. Extensive error analysis revealed several insights and challenges faced by the system, feedback which will be essential for the research community to advance this line of inquiry.

Qazi presented his senior honors thesis, “RISE: Real-time information system for emergency detection,” on this same topic at Meeting of the Minds 2018.

Browse the virtual showcase of this year’s Meeting of the Minds undergraduate researchers.

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