2024 artificial intelligence faculty experts list – USC News & Events – University of South Carolina

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The University of South Carolina is harnessing the power and rapid changes of artificial
intelligence to advance state-of-the-art applications in machine learning. 

Researchers across campus explore how AI can be used for advancements in health care,
education, manufacturing, energy, disaster management and transportation. They are
also helping shape and inform the ethics and policies surrounding these emergent solutions. 

The university has compiled a list of faculty experts to help reporters develop stories
about artificial intelligence and machine learning. To interview a faculty member,
contact the staff member listed with each expert.

Health

Pooyan Jamshidi is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering, and his research interests
span the areas of software, systems, AI/machine learning and robotics. He is particularly
interested in developing algorithms and tools that enable building resilient systems
that can automatically handle goal tradeoffs, incorporate user preferences and constraints,
identify causes of failures and self-adapt to operate in dynamic environments. The
work integrates areas such as distributed systems, control theory, statistical learning
and optimization, causal inference, representation learning and transfer learning,
focusing on applications in autonomous systems, AI accelerators and software/hardware
co-design.
News contact: Chris Woodley, [email protected], 803-576-7745

Nicholas Boltin is a biomedical engineering instructor who is collaborating with Prisma Health on
monitoring brainwave activity of emergency department clinicians during their shifts.
The objective is to identify the most traumatic events for each clinician and use
that data to prevent burnout and reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder
through their careers. He combines AI, machine learning, data mining and predictive
analytics to enhance patient care and elevate medical outcomes.
News contact: Chris Woodley, [email protected], 803-576-7745

Psychology professor Chris Rorden and public health professor Roger Newman-Norlund have used artificial intelligence to uncover new insights about brain health. Their
machine-learning platform can estimate brain age and health by studying a brain scan
image, and it is helping them identify what therapies would best serve stroke patients
based on how the brain was damaged. There have been surprises, such as AI’s ability
to diagnose COVID from a brain image, which may offer clues about the brain’s long-term
impact from the virus. They are teaching a Spring 2024 undergraduate course where
students are using AI and brain image data to conduct experiments.
News contact: Bryan Gentry, [email protected], 434-333-0057

Neuroscience

Christian O’Reilly, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, specializes in how different
areas of the brain communicate. His research in computational neuroscience, biosignal
processing and neuroimaging aims to identify the organizing principles of the brain,
notably for the development of biomarkers for the early diagnosis of autism spectrum
disorder. He also researches novel ways to study autism and the brain through modeling
and artificial intelligence. He is a member of the Artificial Intelligence Institute,
the Institute for Mind and Brain and the Carolina Autism and Neurodevelopment Research
Center.
News contact: Chris Woodley, [email protected], 803-576-7745

Technology

Forest Agostinelli of USC’s College of Engineering and Computing researches the use of explainable AI
to discover new knowledge. Agostinelli’s research attempts to build a positive feedback
loop where humans and AI can learn from each other. While many algorithms can perform
tasks such as medical image analysis, game playing and protein folding, the AI “thought
process” of these methods can be unintelligible to humans and create a lack of trust
between humans and AI. He looks to apply explainable artificial intelligence algorithms
to problems such as the Rubik’s cube, chemical synthesis, quantum computing and robotics.
News contact: Chris Woodley, [email protected], 803-576-7745

Biplav Srivastava is a computer science professor interested in augmenting people’s cognitive limitations
via technology. This enables humans to make rational decisions despite real world
complexities of poor data, changing goals and limited resources. He is working on
creating trusted AI systems combining neuro-symbolic methods that address issues such
as increasing productivity, handling ethical issues, data management and privacy,
fostering human-AI interaction and workforce impact. With over two decades of AI research
experience, Biplav is a Distinguished Scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery,
as well as the USC contact for its participation in the U.S. Artificial Intelligence
Safety Institute.
News contact: Gregory Hardy, [email protected], 352-362-7052

Energy

Jochen Lauterbach is chair of USC’s SmartState Center for Strategic Approaches to the Generation of
Electricity (SAGE), where AI is the driver behind his research team’s work to discover
new energy solutions. He is among a vanguard of scientists worldwide focused on producing
carbon-free energy from nitrogen, hydrogen and the recycling of carbon from carbon
dioxide. He finds AI helpful in accelerating search processes, which saves time and
money while allowing for ideas outside the box. His work includes implications for
the production of ammonia, a key base material for fertilizer, which is crucial to
the global food supply.
News contact: Chris Woodley, [email protected], 803-576-7745

Industry

Yu Qian is a civil and environmental engineering associate professor who specializes in transportation
geotechnics and railroad infrastructure-related research. He has examined the challenges
of first-responder vehicles stuck in train traffic. His team is developing tailored
AI models for a computer vision system to monitor railroad crossings and platforms
to spot individuals with potentially suicidal intentions. His focus is on intelligent
railroad inspection and maintenance, including heavy haul, urban transit and high-speed
railroad. His work with computer vision, edge-computing, and drones is helping develop
an autonomous track inspection system to scan and detect for missing or broken components.
News contact: Chris Woodley, [email protected], 803-576-7745

Sourav Banerjee is a mechanical engineering professor who is an expert in nondestructive evaluation
and structural health monitoring in the fields of aerospace and civil and mechanical
engineering. He works with NASA and the U.S. Navy on technology that employs digital
twins and AI. A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system that
uses simulation, machine learning and reasoning, and that twin lets researchers test
a full range of scenarios to improve real-world performance. He is also an expert
in structural health monitoring, which is the process of putting into place a damage
identification strategy for aerospace and civil and mechanical engineering infrastructure.
News contact: Chris Woodley, [email protected], 803-576-7745

Law

Bryant Walker Smith, an associate professor of law and (by courtesy) engineering, focuses his exploration
of the relationship between law and emerging technologies – what he calls the “law
of the newly possible” – on the use of artificial intelligence in transportation.
As the preeminent academic in the field of automated driving law, he regularly advises
cities, states, countries (including as vice chair of the US Department of Transportation’s
Transforming Transportation Advisory Committee) and the United Nations. He emphasizes
that AI must be understood as an instrument of power that will change relationships
among governments, companies, individuals, collectives and even animals. In this way,
differences between centralized and decentralized systems could be more consequential
than differences between humans and machines.
News contact: Andersen Cook, [email protected], 803-777-8058

Communications

Shannon Bowen is a futurist and chairs USC’s AI Ethics Advisory Board and a top media commentary
source on AI ethics. Her research for the National Science Foundation focused on AI
in disaster and crisis communications and the ethical implications of how it is employed
in public affairs. A professor in USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications,
she teaches and researches ethics across corporations, pharmaceutical firms, governmental
entities and the public relations industry. She is the founder and executive director
of the College of Information and Communications’ Global Strategic Communications
Consortium and frequently writes on AI and ethics, AI use in warfare, and misinformation
and intelligence/counterintelligence, transhumanism and AI espionage.
News contact: Gregory Hardy, [email protected], 352-362-7052

Alamir Novin researches AI’s effects on human-computer interactions, cognitive science, data science
and cybersecurity and artificial general intelligence (AGI) as an assistant professor
in the School of Information Science, and can talk about how generative-AI can diminish
the public’s understanding of scientific issues. Novin’s research starts with cognitive
science (how the mind processes inputs from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience
and philosophy) and data science to experiment with computer systems and AI. He has
a background in information science, data science and data journalism.
News contact: J. Scott Parker, [email protected], 803-777-2696

Kristin Lunz Trujillo of USC’s political science department is administering a national survey in 2024
to investigate how artificial intelligence influences American political attitudes
and behavior, with the intention to use that knowledge to help people recognize false
or misleading AI-generated content that appears credible.
News contact: Bryan Gentry, [email protected], 434-333-0057

Three things make South Carolina’s efforts stand out:  

  1. The collaborative nature of research 
  2. A commitment to harnessing the power of AI in an ethical way that respects privacy
    protocols 
  3. A prioritization of projects that have a direct, real-world impact 

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