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April 16, 2021

Planning the best route with multiple destinations is hard even for supercomputers – a new approach breaks a barrier that’s stood for nearly half a century

This collection of dots and lines is the shortest traveling salesperson problem tour that passes through 1,000 points.

Originally written by Nathan Klein, PhD Student in Computer Science at the University of Washington.  Computers are good at answering questions. What’s the shortest route from my house to Area 51? Is 8,675,309 a prime number? How many teaspoons in a tablespoon? For questions like these, they’ve got you covered. There are certain innocent-sounding questions,…

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April 14, 2021

Building high-rises, hotels and stadiums out of wood–for climate’s sake

The view from the inside of a tall wood building in construction.

It started as a dream that is slowly becoming a reality. “Maybe six or seven years ago, we set out to build the most sustainable football stadium that’s ever been built in the world,” said Dale Vince, the owner of the football club Forest Green Rovers, in Gloucestershire, in southwest England. Vince’s team has been working…

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April 10, 2021

Tents in Seattle increased by more than 50% after COVID pandemic began, survey says

3 tents on Blanchard Street, underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct #1 in Seattle, WA.

Oleg Shpungin usually avoids sleeping in tents. They’re creepy, he says, when he can hear someone approaching but can’t see if they’re about to rob him — and he’s been robbed enough. “A tent is a very dangerous life,” Shpungin said. But on Monday night, he was cold and weak, and his friend had an open tent…

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April 7, 2021

Taskar Center researchers offer a roadmap for more robust modeling of pedestrian mobility on a city-wide scale

A map of the Greater Seattle area that displays the normalized sidewalk reach for normative and manual wheelchair PMPs for every street.

Many approaches to measuring and supporting city-wide mobility lack the level of detail required to truly understand how pedestrians navigate the urban landscape, not to mention the quality of their journey. Transit apps can direct someone to the nearest bus stop, but they may not account for obstacles or terrain on the way to their…

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April 2, 2021

In the face of hate, Asian Americans call for solidarity with all people of color

A view of Uwajimaya store, a Japanese market located in the International District in Seattle.

Since the beginning of the year, Asian Americans have come increasingly under violent attack. Elders have been assaulted in Chinatowns across the country from Oakland to San Francisco to New York City. In late February, Inglemoor High School Japanese teacher Noriko Nasu and her boyfriend were walking through Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (C-ID) and were attacked…

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March 31, 2021

Green ways to keep food trucks clean

Bomba Fusion food truck on the right with a small line forming at Westlake Park.

Originally published by UW Bothell.  Nearly everyone who has undertaken a heavy-duty cleaning job with a concentrated chemical has likely gasped for air. Your nose, throat and eyes irritated, you realize why product labels recommend ample ventilation and wonder if you might be doing something wrong. A common and potentially fatal mistake is mixing ammonia…

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March 29, 2021

Architecture students envision a greater Gould Hall

Students walk towards a reimagined Gould Hall at the University of Washington, which has a transparent membrane as a roof.

Back in the days of disco, Architecture Professor Daniel Streissguth, ’48, was asked to lead the design for a new home for the then College of Architecture and Urban Planning. His brief was to lead the team to create “useful, well-balanced architecture” with offices, classrooms, studios, a library and space for the design disciplines to…

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March 26, 2021

Street smarts: University of Washington researchers develop new roadside device to improve traffic safety, mobility and infrastructure management

A busy street in Downtown Seattle, with a crowded sidewalk on the left and traffic on the right.

“Mobile Unit for Sensing Traffic” is a next generation Internet of Things device The rise in connected and autonomous vehicles and other transportation innovations have transformed municipalities into smart cities and improved the communication of roadway conditions to drivers. These cutting-edge technologies are part of a growing movement toward intelligent transportation systems (ITS), a transportation…

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March 19, 2021

Green construction can play an active role as climate action accelerates

A photo of the Bullitt Center, located in Seattle. Small tree in the foreground.

The following op ed was penned by Anthony Hickling, Managing Director of University of Washington‘s Carbon Leadership Forum.   When President Joe Biden re-signed the Paris Accord and introduced the largest clean-energy and climate-justice plan the country has ever seen, he launched a significant opportunity to fight climate change. Buildings can be part of the…

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8 homegrown apps to help you navigate life in Seattle

Different apps displayed on a smartphone, in front of a white background.

One upside of living in a tech-centered city is the opportunity to witness digital creativity at work. Last August, the Seattle-based GGLO design firm launched an augmented reality app that reveals virtual street art inspired by Black Lives Matter protests in various locations around the city. Student researchers at the University of Washington recently developed an app called AeroSpec, which…

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Urban@UW shares stories of urban research, teaching, and engagement by the University of Washington community through original publication and amplification of externally published articles, in order to bring visibility to the great work across the university. For communications inquiries, please email

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