Please join us for the Change Seminar tomorrow *Tuesday 5/15/2018 *in *EEB

*Who: *Dominic Widdows, Grab
*What: *GrabShare: The construction of a realtime ridesharing service in
Southeast Asia
*When: *Tuesday, May 15 12-1pm
*Where: *EEB 037

*GrabShare: The construction of a realtime ridesharing service in Southeast

Ridesharing is a natural option for increasing the efficiency and
availability of transportation, and many factors need to align for
ridesharing to successfully meet user needs in the marketplace. This talk
explains how some of these issues have been addressed in the creation of
GrabShare, a realtime ridesharing service available in an increasing number
of Southeast Asian cities including Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, and
Jakarta. From an algorithmic point of view, the central topic is the
scheduling system, which, given passenger bookings and vehicle locations,
assigns passengers to vehicles and creates routes for those vehicles to
follow. Other crucial factors include pricing, a navigable and reliable
user experience, a system architecture robust to rejections and
cancellations, and computationally tractable use of maps and traffic
resources. A continuing dedication to understanding each city's individual
needs and challenges, and persistent attention to user feedback, is also
vital. This paper at gives an
account of these areas, and attempts to give an organic overview of how
GrabShare helps to serve customers as part of an integrated suite of
transportation services throughout Southeast Asia.

Dominic came to Grab after several years working on local search at
Microsoft, commerce and logistics at Google, natural language processing
and machine learning at Stanford, and a few other places along the way.

He started off as a differential geometer at Oxford developing quaternion
algebraic geometry, and is still applying geometry to various problem
areas. In 2000 he moved to California and worked on natural language
processing at Stanford, mainly using graph theory and linear algebra to
model word meanings, which led to the application of quantum logic in word
vector models. He continues this work as an open-source owner of the
SemanticVectors package and steering committee member for the Quantum
Interaction conference series.

High points of his time at Google included building the first routing and
delivery system for the project that became Google Shopping Express, and
organizing the star data, matrix transformations, and time travel feature
for Google Sky Map. (If you have an Android phone and any interest in
backyard astronomy, this is still a very fun and useful app to play with!)
Most of his work at Microsoft was in local search and information
extraction of business listings from the web.

So far at Grab he’s worked on designing and building the first versions of
GrabShare and GrabExpress, and is now mainly focussing on NLP and AI
challenges with Southeast Asian languages, particularly Indonesian and
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