The big yellow school bus, with its plastic seats, rubbery smell, and cool-kids-in-the-back social hierarchies, hasn't gotten a true update in decades. What will happen to such an old-fashioned vehicle when our streets become flooded with driverless cars? We know how service vehicles like delivery vans and city buses will be affected by autonomous tech. What about school buses, which are so vital and also so fraught with concerns over safety?
They look like something straight out of a science fiction film. With eyes the size of basketballs, giant squids are perhaps one of the strangest and most elusive creatures on the planet. Scientists have previously measured more than 130 specimens, and say the biggest they've found is 42 feet (13 metres) in length. Now, a new statistical study of these sea monsters suggests they could reach 65 feet (20 metres) in length – or the size of a school bus. Scientists have previously measure more than 130 specimens, and say the biggest they've found is 42 feet (13 meters) in length.
We describe an application of AI search and information visualization techniques to the problem of school redistricting, in which students are assigned to home schools within a county or school district. This is a multicriteria optimization problem in which competing objectives must be considered, such as school capacity, busing costs, and socioeconomic distribution. Because of the complexity of the decision-making problem, tools are needed to help end users generate, evaluate, and compare alternative school assignment plans. A key goal of our research is to aid users in finding multiple qualitatively different redistricting plans that represent different tradeoffs in the decision space. We present heuristic search methods that can be used to find a set of qualitatively different plans, and give empirical results of these search methods on population data from the school district of Howard County, Maryland. We show the resulting plans using novel visualization methods that we have developed for summarizing and comparing alternative plans.