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Rudra named inaugural Katherine Johnson Chair in Synthetic Intelligence – UBNow: Information and views for UB school and employees

Atri Rudra, professor within the Division of Pc Science and Engineering, has been named the primary Katherine Johnson Chair in Synthetic Intelligence.

The distinguished endowed chair was created by D. Sivakumar (Siva), PhD ’96, and Uma Mahadevan, PhD ’98, in assist of the college’s Boldly Buffalo marketing campaign. The couple, who studied laptop science at UB, co-founded Tonita, an AI startup that’s constructing a brand new paradigm for commerce search utilizing pure language understanding.

“Items akin to this one are extremely necessary, as they assist our core values ​​of offering an inclusive and equitable instructional expertise for all our engineers and scientists,” says Kemper Lewis, dean of the College of Engineering and Utilized Sciences. “We’re terribly grateful to each of them for his or her generosity.”

For Sivakumar, who was born right into a household of academics and remembers his CSE professors as outspoken advocates for his profession and training, making a contribution that in the end helps instructing excellence at SEAS was a key driver within the determination to endow this chair. “To ship the perfect training, we want top-quality professors, and we have to create the fitting recognition, not simply with the named professorship however with all of the funding that goes together with it.”

Sivakumar named the chair in honor of Katherine Johnson, a arithmetic pioneer featured within the film “Hidden Figures.” In a single inspiring scene, Johnson was main a workforce struggling to compute spacecraft reentry, when she steered utilizing a computation as a substitute of a method. For Sivakumar, who has devoted his profession to computations — together with pioneering work within the discipline of knowledge complexity whereas a researcher at IBM — this was an exhilarating second.

“The film portrays how, as an African-American lady, she was in all probability an unlikely candidate to be doing this type of work,” says Sivakumar, referring to her as an inspirational determine. Johnson handed away in 2020 on the age of 101.

“I got here a bit late in my profession to provide again to UB, however I hope that each graduate will assist the college; that is one of the simplest ways for a public college to get higher,” Sivakumar says. “And I’m delighted that Professor Rudra is the primary particular person to carry this chair and am particularly blissful about his dedication to nice training at UB,” he provides.

Jinhui Xu, professor and chair of the Division of Pc Science and Engineering, calls Rudra “a very applicable recipient.”

“He’s a passionate advocate for rising and supporting range in laptop science and engineering,” Xu says, “and is dedicated to instructing college students concerning the impacts of computing on society, each damaging and constructive.”

“It’s an absolute honor to obtain the Katherine Johnson endowed chair place,” Rudra says. “Whereas I’m nowhere close to the caliber of mathematician that Katherine Johnson was, I do really feel a kinship in that I am additionally a mathematician. Actually, being a mathematician can be one thing that I share with Siva. We’ve each written papers on comparable matters, though not with one another.”

Rudra is a member of UB’s Computing for Social Good group, the place he’s concerned in a analysis undertaking on how computing can assist decision-making within the US foster care system, in addition to an effort to include extra accountable computing and moral considering into the undergraduate resume. Extra broadly, his analysis pursuits embrace points on the intersection of society and computing, structured linear algebra and database algorithms. He’s the school mentor to UB’s Society and Computing Membership and DivTech, a pupil membership that goals to extend range in STEM fields.

The reward and his appointment to the chair will allow Rudra to higher assist pupil actions in quite a few methods, together with funding for initiatives that incorporate accountable computing and take a holistic view of how computing is located inside society. As well as, it should facilitate alternatives for college kids from a number of disciplines and lived experiences to speak collectively about computing and society. It should additionally assist conventional analysis and instructing actions, akin to visits and talks by students whose multidisciplinary work could also be more durable to assist with funding from conventional sources.

Lastly, Rudra hopes to have the ability to pilot small however high-risk initiatives which will ultimately be funded extra broadly.

“Particularly, I am very excited that the reward may also assist bootstrap among the new efforts that I am concerned in with Dalia Antonia Caraballo Muller, an affiliate professor within the Division of Historical past, to adapt her wonderful Unimaginable Undertaking framework to a few of our laptop science and engineering programs generally, and particularly in a few of my programs,” Rudra says. “In contrast to most of my earlier work that tends to fall considerably solely both within the analysis bin or instructing bin, this work combines each instructing and analysis, which makes it particularly near my coronary heart.”

Rudra is a co-editor of the Mozilla Educating Accountable Computing playbook, a information on how schools and universities can replace curricula to put extra emphasis on ethics when designing expertise merchandise. His quite a few awards and achievements embrace an ACM Ideas of Database Programs (PODS) Symposium Take a look at of Time Award (2022), SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Educating (2022), ICML Excellent Paper Runner Up award (2022), UB Distinctive Scholar: Sustained Achievement Award (2022), UB Educating Innovation award (2021), SEAS Senior Trainer of the 12 months (2020 and 2015), Finest Paper Awards from ACM Ideas of Database Programs (PODS) Symposiums (2012 and 2016), IBM School Award (2013 ), UB Distinctive Students-Younger Investigator Award (2011), HP Labs Open Innovation Analysis Award (2010), Finest Paper Award from the 18th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (2010) and an NSF CAREER award (2009).

His work has been funded by the Nationwide Science Basis, Mozilla Basis, IBM and the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, amongst others. He has revealed greater than 75 papers in refereed journals, and convention and workshop proceedings.

Rudra earned his PhD from the College of Washington and joined the UB school in 2007. Beforehand, he was a analysis employees member on the IBM India Analysis Lab in New Delhi, India.

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