Computer Science

Research Interests

My research has primarily been driven by the desire to understand the variability in human behavior with the goal of improving how we interact with increasingly intelligent machines. My investigations thus far have primarily taken a multimodal and multidisciplinary approach involving the application of machine learning techniques on human-centric data. Although my work primarily falls under the purview of Machine Learning and Human Computer Interaction, I draw deep inspiration from Psychology, Sociology and Cognitive Science domains. By understanding human variability and improving the modeling of this uncertainty, I believe we can achieve better and richer interaction with artificial intelligence. A key goal is to enable machine learning to understand the innate ambiguity in human multimodal communication such as implicit intentions or emotions. 

Mentoring Experiences

I have had the great pleasure of serving as the formal research mentor for 17 high school and 7 undergraduate students. I was fortunate to meet a steady stream of students to help me with research through a variety of mentoring programs (such as the Research Mentorship Program and the CS department’s Early Research Scholars Program), classes, and the FourEyes Lab. I have found that one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in graduate school is that trying to teach a concept clearly is the best way to learn a lesson. I also do my best to pass on the knowledge that I acquired as a graduate student to my students: to be proactive, to ask questions, and be critical. I like to have each student teach introductory concepts to each other or try to have them teach it to me. I have found that students are typically humbled by the process and absorb the concepts at a much deeper level and faster pace. I also find that frequently I learn very interesting new concepts that inspire further research.  

Meaning of the Award

I am deeply honored to receive an award for mentoring and it was not something I expected. In many ways, it feels that the award belongs more so to the wonderful students I’ve had the opportunity to work with. Mentoring them has benefited my research greatly. Working with excited students did wonders for my motivation and has helped me become better at communicating research. It is genuinely wonderful to see others succeed through my support, and the feeling is more enduring than a publication at a great venue. I hope that my positive and rewarding experiences can motivate others to pursue as many mentorship opportunities as possible.