The Fellows

Aakriti Kumar | Alex Bower | Bono Olgado | Hao-Che Hsu | Lucretia Williams |
Navid Salehnamadi | Nika Nour | Nneka Udeagbala | Robert Logan |

Aakriti Kumar

Aakriti Kumar is a 3rd year Ph.D. student at UCI's Department of Cognitive Sciences where she is advised by Mark Steyvers. Her research draws on the principles of cognitive science and machine learning to understand and improve AI-assisted human decision-making. Her work is broadly motivated by two questions: 1) how humans incorporate algorithmic advice in their decision-making? and 2) how can we help humans develop trust calibrated to an algorithm's ability?
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Aakriti's Personal Website

Alexander Harrison Bower

Alex Bower is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in UCI's Department of Cognitive Sciences, where he is advised by Mark Steyvers. His research interests include human problem solving (primarily, the phenomenon of insight), humor, and the human perception of AI systems. Alex is also a Senior Pedagogical Fellow in UCI's Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation, as well as the recipient of UCI's Most Promising Future Faculty Award in 2020. His work as a member of the Irvine Initiative explores how society views the creative work of AI (e.g., jokes, paintings, poetry) relative to that of other humans.
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Alex's LinkedIn

Benedict Salazar Olgado

Benedict Salazar Olgado (Bono) is a Ph.D. student in Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Co-advised by Dr. Geoffrey C. Bowker and Dr. Roderic Crooks, Bono's research is broadly situated at the intersections of memory, technology, and document studies particularly in relation to transitional justice and transnational technopolitics. He is currently affiliated with UCI's Steckler Center for Responsible, Ethical, and Accessible Technology (CREATe) and the Evoke Lab & Studio. Bono's scholarship is grounded in his work as a community organizer and human rights advocate as he critiques and designs computational archival technologies in service of those who fight for a more just and humane society.
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Benedict's Personal Website

Hao-Che Hsu

Coordinator and Web support
Howard (Hao-Che) is the Irvine initiative coordinator and currently a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at UCI. Advised by Dr. Matthew C. Harding, his research interests include industrial organization and the intersection of data science and machine learning. He holds a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Hao-Che's Personal Website

Lucretia Williams

Lucretia is currently a Ph.D. student in Informatics at UCI and the Irvine initiative coordinator. Her research focus is designing and improving digital mental health technology for under-represented minority students. She received a bachelor of science in Psychology from Howard University in Washington, D.C. During her time there she conducted research on the mental health of HBCU students and the effects of micro-aggressions and their emotional responses.
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Navid Salehnamadi

Navid Salehnamadi is a 4th year Ph.D. student at UCI's Department of Informatics advised by Sam Malek. His central theme of research is applying program analysis techniques to evaluate and improve mobile applications' usability aspects. He became passionate about focusing on software accessibility after observing 1) the lack of proper knowledge amongst the vast majority of software developers and 2) the lack of automated tools to assist developers in thinking, design, and evaluate more inclusively.
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Navid's Personal Website

Nika Nourmohammadi

Show: Spy Games
Nika Nour is a 2nd year Ph.D. student at UCI's Department of Informatics advised by Dr. Constance Steinkuehler. After seeing the devastating consequences of misinformation, she became passionate to discover what causes people to be susceptible and understand how their perceptions changed due to being exposed to them. Specifically, she is researching the implications of deepfakes on an individual's values, beliefs, and biases. Her previous academic degrees focused on political theory, prevention of viral infections in warfare, and the cross-cultural frameworks of public policy and media relations.
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Nika's Profile on Forbes

Nneka Udeagbala

Nneka Udeagbala is a 1st year Ph.D. student in UCI's Department of Informatics and is advised by Dr. Roderic Crooks. Nneka studies digital infrastructure in cities, especially infrastructures that support the provision of services and governance. Understanding how citizens interact with and conceptualize a technologically dense ecosystem can inform efforts to increase political participation at a variety of scales, ultimately empowering citizens and strengthening local communities. Nneka's research shows how these complex, situated, and heterogenous conditions of use must be contextualized with respect to the dynamic relations of power and authority within which they arise. Nneka's current work analyzes digital inequality which concerns omission or exclusion of impacted communities.
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Nneka's Personal Website

Robert Lockwood Logan

Robert L. Logan IV is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the UCI Department of Computer Science co-advised by Sameer Singh and Padhraic Smyth. He is a member of UCI's NLP and DataLab research groups, and a recipient of the 2020 Rose Hills Foundation Fellowship. His research focuses on two topics: 1) leveraging information from large knowledge sources to measure and improve machine learning models' abilities to reason with factual and common sense knowledge, and 2) applying machine learning models to better understand interpersonal communication both in-person and online.
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Robert's Personal Website

The Faculty Fellows

Dr. Erik Sudderth | Dr. Mark Steyvers | Dr. Matthew C. Harding | Dr. Sameer Singh | Dr. Sean Young

Dr. Erik Sudderth

Dr. Erik Sudderth is a Professor of Computer Science and Statistics at the University of California, Irvine, where he directs the UC Irvine Center for Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems. His research interests include probabilistic graphical models and probabilistic programming, nonparametric Bayesian methods for weakly supervised learning, improving the fairness of machine learning methods, and applications in computer vision and the sciences.

Erik was previously an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Brown University, and a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He received the Bachelor's degree (summa cum laude, 1999) in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and the Master's degree (2002) and Ph.D. degree (2006) in EECS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received an NSF CAREER award, the ISBA Mitchell Prize, and was named one of "AI's 10 to Watch" by IEEE Intelligent Systems Magazine.

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Erik's Personal Website

Dr. Mark Steyvers

Dr. Mark Steyvers is a Professor of Cognitive Science at UC Irvine and is affiliated with the Computer Science department as well as the Center for Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems. His publications span work in cognitive science, as well as machine learning and, have been funded by NSF, NIH, IARPA, NAVY, and AFOSR.

Mark received his Ph.D. from Indiana University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. He is currently serving as Associate Editor of Computational Brain and Behavior and Consulting Editor for Psychological Review and has previously served as the President of the Society of Mathematical Psychology, Associate Editor for Psychonomic Bulletin & Review and the Journal of Mathematical Psychology.

In addition, he has served as a consultant for a variety of companies such as eBay, Yahoo, Netflix, Merriam Webster, Rubicon, and Gimbal on machine learning problems. Dr. Steyvers received New Investigator Awards from the American Psychological Association as well as the Society of Experimental Psychologists. He also received an award from the Future of Privacy Forum and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for his collaborative work with Lumosity.

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Mark's Personal Website

Dr. Matthew C. Harding

Institute: Deep Data Lab
Dr. Matthew C. Harding is a Faculty Innovation Fellow and Professor of Economics and Statistics at UC Irvine. As an Econometrician and Data Scientist, he develops techniques at the intersection of machine learning and econometrics to answer Big Data questions related to individual consumption and investment decisions in areas such as health, energy, and consumer finance.

As an Econometrician, he is currently exploring the potential of machine learning methods in Economics. He is interested in the estimation of high-dimensional models and the use of deep learning methods to produce interpretable economic insights. He also designs and evaluates large scale field experiments in collaboration with industry leaders to measure the individual and social consequences of individual choices and the extent to which Big Data can be used to improve choices and lead to more accurate and targeted programs and products. His research relies on terabyte-sized data sets of individual choices and consumption profiles, to build a comprehensive framework for understanding economic behavior and develop new strategies for achieving triple-win solutions.

He received his BA in Economics and Philosophy from the University College London, his M.Phil. in Economics from the University of Oxford, and his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He comes to UCI following previous faculty positions at Duke University and Stanford University.

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Matthew's Personal Website

Dr. Sameer Singh

Dr. Sameer Singh is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He is working primarily on the robustness and interpretability of machine learning algorithms, along with models that reason with text and structure for natural language processing.

Sameer was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington and received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, during which he also worked at Microsoft Research, Google Research, and Yahoo! Labs. He was selected as a DARPA Riser and has been awarded the grand prize in the Yelp dataset challenge, the Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges, UCI Mid-Career Excellence in research award, and recently received the Hellman and the Irvine Initiative Faculty Fellowships.

His group has received funding from Allen Institute for AI, Amazon, NSF, DARPA, Adobe Research, Base 11, and FICO. Sameer has published extensively at machine learning and natural language processing venues, including paper awards at KDD 2016, ACL 2018, EMNLP 2019, AKBC 2020, and ACL 2020.

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Sameer's Personal Website

Dr. Sean Young

Dr. Sean Young is the Executive Director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology, the Center for Digital Behavior, a Medical School and Informatics Professor with the UCI Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics, and the #1 Wall Street Journal and International Best-Selling author of Stick With It.

Sean received his Ph.D. in Psychology and Master's degree in Health Services Research from Stanford University, worked in technology and user behavior/human factors at NASA Ames Research Center and Cisco Systems, taught at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and have advised various companies and start-ups.

In addition, he is an internationally-recognized speaker, having presented at forums such as the European Parliament, mHealth Conference, World Congress, as well as corporations, academic institutions, and organizations. Before recently moving to UCI, he was a medical school professor in the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, where he continued to hold a joint appointment.

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Sean's Personal Website

Meet the Initiatives

Dean Bill Maurer

Dean, School of Social Sciences
Dr. Bill Maurer is a cultural anthropologist and sociolegal scholar. His most recent research looks at how professional communities (payments industry professionals, computer programmers, and developers, legal consultants) conceptualize and build financial technology or "fintech," and how consumers use and experience it.

More broadly, his work explores the technological infrastructures and social relations of exchange and payment, from cowries to credit cards and cryptocurrencies. As an anthropologist, he is interested in the broad range of technologies people have used throughout history and across cultures to figure value and conduct transactions. He has particular expertise in alternative and experimental forms of money and finance, payment technologies, and their legal implications. He has published on topics ranging from offshore financial services to mobile phone-enabled money transfers, Islamic finance, alternative currencies, blockchain/distributed ledger systems, and the future of money.

Currently, he is Associate Editor of the Journal of Cultural Economy and serves as a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Critique, and PoLAR: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review. From 2007-09 he was President of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology and served in 2009-10 as a member of the Program Committee for the Law and Society Association meetings in Chicago, IL. He was Chair of the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine from 2005-06 until 2010-11. He was Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the Social Sciences from 2011-13.

In July 2013, he assumed the role of Dean of the School of Social Sciences at UC Irvine. He maintains an active side interest in the experimental history of the Irvine School of Social Sciences and has been involved in several curatorial projects related to that history. He has also been involved in curatorial work more directly associated with his research, represented most recently in an ongoing exhibit on the past, present, and future of money at the British Museum. In 2015 he was appointed to the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences. He has consulted with the Department of Treasury on the redesign of the US paper currency. He received his BA from Vassar College and his MA and Ph.D. from Stanford University. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2018, he was named a Filene Fellow.

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Dean Marios Papaefthymiou

Dean, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
Dr. Marios Papaefthymiou is a professor of computer science and the Ted and Janice Smith Family Foundation Dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) at the University of California, Irvine. He joined UC Irvine in 2017 as the third dean for ICS.

Before coming to UC Irvine, Papaefthymiou was a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, where he served as chair of computer science and engineering, overseeing one of the fastest-growing and most innovative academic programs in computing across the nation. Before Michigan, he was on the faculty at Yale. Papaefthymiou's research interests are in architectures and design methodologies for energy-efficient high-performance computers.

With more than 100 publications on this topic, Papaefthymiou holds 21 US and international patents on energy-efficient computing and is co-founder and chief scientist of Cyclos Semiconductor, a Michigan spin-off commercializing energy-efficiency solutions for high-end computers. His accolades include a Young Investigator Award from ARO, a CAREER award from NSF, a number of Faculty Partnership Awards from IBM, and multiple best paper awards. Papaefthymiou grew up in Athens, Greece, and studied at the National Technical University of Athens before transferring to Caltech, where he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He then went on to earn master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.

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Irvine Initiatives Objectives

The Irvine Initiative in AI, Law, and Society aimes to provide leadership and knowledge transfer across multiple sectors that drive informed, ethical, and timely innovation for the public good.

Its initial focus will be in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and technological transformations.

  • AI

    Human-centered, adaptive, and safe artificial intelligence systems

  • Society

    Ethical and equitable application of technologies

  • Law

    Legal and social implications of artificial intelligence

  • Research

    Explore AI applications