Powerhouse speakers and a new virtual format mark the latest edition of NYU Tandon’s annual Modern Artificial Intelligence Series

Anna Choromanska poses with colleagues at one of last year's seminars.

The Modern Artificial Intelligence Series organized by Professor Anna Choromanska (second from right) features researchers who have made fundamental contributions to artificial intelligence.

On February 10, NYU Tandon’s fifth annual Modern Artificial Intelligence Series will kick off with a presentation by Joelle Pineau, co-Managing Director of Facebook AI Research; faculty member at Mila, a Quebec-based community of more than 500 researchers specializing in using machine learning for social good; and Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar at the School of Computer Science at McGill University, where she co-directs the Reasoning and Learning Lab.

“Our first speaker really embodies the idea of using AI and technology to better society,” said Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Anna Choromanska, the driving force behind the series. “In fact, just last year she won the Canadian Governor General's Innovation Award for her leadership in the innovative applications of AI and machine learning to improve the lives of people impacted by severe mobility impairments and diseases like epilepsy. She is setting the bar very high for our 2021 series, but I have every confidence in this year’s stellar lineup.”

Pineau’s presentation, “Building Reproducible, Reusable, and Robust Deep Reinforcement Learning Systems,” will focus on the challenges that arise in experimental techniques and reporting procedures in deep learning, with a particular emphasis on reinforcement learning and applications to healthcare. 

In addition to Pineau, speakers will include:

  • Danielle Belgrave of Microsoft Research, whose area of expertise is the use of statistics and machine learning to understand the progression of diseases
  • Niranjani Prasad, a senior researcher in the Health Intelligence team at Microsoft Research Cambridge, who is developing methods to guide personalized interventions in online mental health services
  • Mutale Nkonde, founding CEO of the nonprofit AI for the People, which aims to eliminate the underrepresentation of black professionals in the American technology sector over the next decade
  • Sham Kakade, who serves as the Washington Research Foundation Data Science Chair and holds a joint appointment in both the Allen School and Department of Statistics at the University of Washington, where he works on the theoretical foundations of machine learning

The impressive group includes four women (three of them women of color), a roster much in keeping with NYU Tandon’s dedication to excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the STEM fields.

Sponsored by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), the series, which will be held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to bring together faculty, students, and researchers to discuss the most important trends in the world of AI. Past series presenters have included Nobel Laureates Eric Kandel and Richard J. Roberts, Turing Award recipients Yann LeCun and Yoshua Bengio, and famed venture capitalist and director of Microsoft Research Asia, Kai-Fu Lee.

For more information, visit the seminar series website, and to watch previous talks, see the playlist.