Google donates $250,000 to help bring information to Flint resid - WNEM TV 5

Google donates $250,000 to help bring information to Flint residents

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

One of the world's leading tech giants is reaching out to the Vehicle City.

Google is pledging $250,000 in grants to help residents deal with the Flint water crisis.

While the state and federal government work to fix the Flint water crisis, Professor Jake Abernethy, in conjuction with Google, is helping a team of computer scientists at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and Flint campuses. They are giving residents access to information.

"They wanted to do some kind of application, a mobile application that helps the citizens of Flint with up to date information and the data," Abernethy said.

In the computer science world, Abernethy's goal is often to make sense of large amounts of data,, typically an amount too difficult for someone to manually process.

With the many different moving parts working towards a solution to the water crisis extraordinary amounts of data is being created.

"Things like where you can get water bottles, filters. Whether the lead levels are dropping. What's the current status of the crisis," Abernethy said.

Google contacted the School of Computer Science and Engineering at U of M. Soon after, Abernethy along with other faculty members and students visited Flint to get a first hand account of what data can be aggregated or brought together in one place for the residents to see.

Abernethy and his team determined the city simply doesn't have the resources to do so. That's why he said the project is important not only for those working to fix the water crisis, but also so the residents can stay informed during the process.

"The goal of course is to provide information to citizens so they can use it in a useful way," Abernethy said.

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