Mayank Lahiri (2005) went to graduate school and studied the behavior of wild zebras and their social networks, but this depends on being able to tell them apart.
“In working with biologists from Princeton on these zebra studies in the field,” says Mayank Lahiri ’05, who just completed his Ph.D. on measuring and mining dynamic networks at University of Illinois-Chicago, “I became frustrated by bad identification data, so I decided to work on an automatic identification project during a joint field course in Kenya with first-year biology doctoral students.”
Lahiri, his adviser Tanya Berger-Wolf, and others on the team developed software called Stripespotter, which has received international media attention. “We’ve deployed the software at two conservancies in Kenya, and it’s available for free on the Internet for anyone to download and use. Hopefully, it will enable biologists to collect field data quickly, in larger volumes, and with fewer errors.”