Vanessa Frias-Martinez

Vanessa Frias-Martinez

Vanessa Frias-Martinez

Assistant Professor


PhD in Computer Science. Columbia University,  USA. October 2008
MSc. in Computer Science. Columbia University, USA. September 2003
BSc. in Computer Engineering. Universidad de Valladolid, Spain. June 1999


 2123B Hornbake Building, South Wing


Vanessa is an assistant professor in the iSchool at University of Maryland and an affiliate assistant professor in the Computer Science Department. Before that, she spent five years at Telefonica Research, developing algorithms to analyze mobile digital traces with applications in areas like Smart Cities, Public Health or Education. She obtained her PhD and MSc in Computer Science from Columbia University and enjoyed internships at Google, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). She is a recipient of La Caixa Fellowship. In her free time, she enjoys running and traveling to places with no Internet.

Research Interests

Modeling our cities through digital footprints of human activity
uman behavior in urban environments using crowdsourced mobile and ubiquitous data
Computational tools that combine data mining and machine learning techniques to tackle urgent urban challenges
Disaster management
Transportation alternatives


  • Fall 2016: INFM750/CMSC828E From Data to Insights

Recent Publications

  •  Jay Ghurye, Gautier Krings, Vanessa Frias-Martinez,"A Framework to Model Human Behavior at Large Scale during Natural Disasters", IEEE International Conference on Mobile Data Management, MDM 2016.

  •  Lingzi Hong, Enrique Frias-Martinez and Vanessa Frias-Martinez, "Topic Models to Infer Socioeconomic Maps", AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 2016.

  • Jiaying He, Lingzi Hong, Vanessa Frias-Martinez and Paul Torrens,"Uncovering Social Media Reaction Patterns to Protest Events: A Spatiotemporal Dynamics Perspective of Ferguson Unrest", International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2015.

  • Gaurav Paruthi, Enrique Frias-Martinez and Vanessa Frias-Martinez, "Understanding Lending Behaviors on Online Microlending Platforms: The Case for Kiva", International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM  2015.



Research Projects: 

Crowdsourcing Urban Bicycle Level of Service Measures

Principal Investigator: Vanessa Frias-Martinez

The lack of information regarding cycling safety prompts local governments and bicycle associations to look into ways of making cycling in urban areas both more attractive and safer. Using data mining and machine learning techniques, this project can measure bicycle safety from citizens’ complaints and concerns.

How Can Investments In Smart Cities Technologies Improve The Lives Of Low-Income, Inner-City Residents

Associated Research Centers:
Principal Investigator: Gerrit J. Knaap
Investigator: Vanessa Frias-Martinez