Center for Socially Responsible AI announces inaugural seed funding awards

Jordan Ford
March 17, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence recently announced the recipients of its inaugural round of seed funding. The center awarded more than $93,000 to five interdisciplinary research projects.

Each proposal was evaluated on its connection to the center’s mission, its potential translational impacts, and its potential for securing external funding. Funding will support the formation of interdisciplinary research teams and early-stage projects that demonstrate strong potential to obtain external funding.

“The center strives to transform AI-related research by insisting that it be done in a socially responsible way from its inception,” said Prasenjit Mitra, CSRAI director and associate dean for research in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. “Using the seed funding, these projects will bring together scholars from across the University to advance this central objective and support important enquiries that have the potential to grow into projects that will transform our relationship with technology and society.”

The five projects selected for funding include:

  • “Application of AI-enabled Nondestructive Evaluation for Equitable Access to Safe Infrastructure,” by Rebecca Napolitano, assistant professor of architectural engineering, College of Engineering; and Wesley Reinhart, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
  • “Diversity and Fairness in Gig Economies,” by Hadi Hosseini, assistant professor, College of Information Sciences and Technology.
  • “GPS for Future of Work: AI Based Career Development and Transition of Displaced Workers,” by Dongwon Lee, associate professor, and Amulya Yadav, PNC Career Development Assistant Professor, both in the College of Information Sciences and Technology; Hyung Joon Yoon, assistant professor in learning and performance systems, College of Education; and Hamoon Ekhtiari, founder and CEO, FutureFit AI.
  • “Intelligent Tutoring System Using Reinforcement Learning for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” by Amulya Yadav, PNC Career Development Assistant Professor, College of Information Sciences and Technology; Jonte Taylor, associate professor of education, College of Education; and Fei Fang, assistant professor, Institute for Software Research, Carnegie Mellon University.
  • “The Moral Psychology of Human-Technology Interactions,” by Daryl Cameron, assistant professor in psychology, College of the Liberal Arts, and research associate, Rock Ethics Institute; and Alan Wagner, Hartz Family Career Development Assistant Professor in Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering, and research associate, Rock Ethics Institute.

The center, which launched last year, promotes high-impact, transformative AI research and development, while encouraging the consideration of social and ethical implications in all such efforts. As a result, the center supports a broad range of activities from foundational research to the application of AI to all areas of human endeavor. More information can be found on the Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence website.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 17, 2021