Collaborating Authors


Scientists Taught Mice to Smell an Odor That Doesn't Exist


When neuroscientists David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel wanted to figure out how the brain parses its visual environment, they went as simple as they could go. In a Harvard lab crammed with electrical equipment, they positioned cats in front of a screen and showed them extremely basic images: dots in particular locations, lines at various angles. At the same time, they used implanted electrodes to, quite literally, "listen" to neurons in the areas of the brain devoted to vision. By observing which neurons fired in response to which shapes, they were able to unlock a part of the brain's "visual code," the way in which it represents visual information about its environment. For their achievement, Hubel and Wiesel won the Nobel Prize in 1981, and their discoveries kick-started the rich, diverse field of visual neuroscience.

Allen School News » Adriana Schulz and Nadya Peek earn TR35 Awards for their efforts to revolutionize fabrication and manufacturing while bridging the human-machine divide

University of Washington Computer Science

Allen School professor Adriana Schulz and adjunct professor Nadya Peek are among the 35 "Innovators Under 35" recognized by MIT Technology Review as part of its 2020 TR35 Awards. Each year, the TR35 Awards highlight early-career innovators who are already transforming the future of science and technology through their work. Schulz, a member of the Allen School's Graphics & Imaging Laboratory (GRAIL) and Fabrication research group, was honored for her visionary work on computer-based design tools that enable engineers and average users alike to create functional, complex objects. Peek, a professor in the Department of Human-Centered Design & Engineering, was honored in the "Inventors" category for her work on modular machines for supporting individual creativity. Schulz and Peek are also among the leaders of the new cross-campus Center for Digital Fabrication (DFab), a collaboration among researchers, educators, industry partners, and the maker community focused on advancing the field of digital fabrication.

Allen School News » Allen School professor Dieter Fox receives RAS Pioneer Award from IEEE Robotics & Automation Society

University of Washington Computer Science

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society has announced Allen School professor Dieter Fox as the recipient of a 2020 RAS Pioneer Award in recognition of his "pioneering contributions to probabilistic state estimation, RGB-D perception, machine learning in robotics, and bridging academic and industrial robotics research." The society will formally honor Fox, director of the University of Washington's Robotics and State Estimation Laboratory and senior director of robotics research at NVIDIA, during the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2020) next week. The RAS Pioneer Award honors individuals who have had a significant impact on the fields of robotics and automation by initiating new areas of research, development, or engineering. Fox's contributions have focused on enabling robots to interact with people and their environment in an intelligent way, with an emphasis on state estimation and perception problems such as 3D mapping, object detection and tracking, manipulation, and human activity recognition. "We are extremely proud that Dieter has been recognized with this prestigious award. It is truly deserved," said professor Magdalena Balazinska, director of the Allen School.

AI and the Far Right: A History We Can't Ignore


The heads of two prominent artificial intelligence firms came under public scrutiny this month for ties to far right organizations. A report by Matt Stroud at OneZero identified the founder and CEO of surveillance firm Banjo, Damien Patton, as a former member of the Dixie Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, who was charged with a hate crime for shooting at a synagogue in 1990. The report led the Utah Attorney General's office to suspend a contract worth at least $750,000 with the company, and reportedly the firm has also lost a $20.8 million contract with the state's Department of Public Safety. Only a few weeks earlier, Luke O'Brien at the Huffington Post uncovered that Clearview AI's founder, Cam-Hoan Ton-That, affiliated with far right extremists including former Breitbart writer Chuck Johnson, Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, and neo-Nazi hacker Andrew'weev' Auernheimer. Moreover, the reporters found evidence that Ton-That collaborated with Johnson and others in the development of Clearview AI's software.

John Snow Labs wins the 2020 Artificial Intelligence Excellence Award


April 30th, 2020, Delaware - The Business Intelligence Group today announced the winners of its inaugural Artificial Intelligence Excellence Awards program. This business awards program sets out to recognize those organizations, products and people who bring Artificial Intelligence (AI) to life and apply it to solve real problems. Nominations were received and winners were chosen in all four of the categories of AI including Reactive Machines, Limited Memory, Theory of Mind, and Self-Awareness. "We are so proud to name John Snow Labs as a 2020 winner in our Artificial Intelligence Excellence Awards program", said Maria Jimenez, chief nominations officer for Business Intelligence Group. "John Snow Labs wins our best AI product or service award thanks to exceptional success turning AI research into real & dependable systems for a global community. John Snow Labs has been chosen as a winner because it uniquely combines an end-to-end AI platform that is enterprise-grade in the most demanding sense of the term, with an impressive roster of customer success stories in this challenging field. As a result of its unique set of capabilities, the AI Platform has attracted a number of Fortune 500 companies who use it as the basis for their own enterprise AI platform (by extending, branding, and integrating it into the rest of their software architecture) – as well as small companies and start-ups who need to get to market fast with a proven, end-to-end solution. This AI Platform can be deployed on a new cluster in as little as two hours – although John Snow Labs bundles it with a longer onboarding session that includes training and personalized design & architecture sessions. John Snow Labs also offers turnkey services that combine licensing its AI Platform with custom development of machine learning, deep learning, or natural language processing models that address the needs of specific customers. Such projects are usually done by a joint team that combines data scientists & engineers from John Snow Labs and the customer team – so that in addition to getting to market quickly, the customer's team gains hands-on expertise and on-the-job training in using the platform on a daily basis. "We are honoured by this award and the industry recognition it represents.

UST Global Named Winner at the Microsoft AI Awards 2.0 for the Best Innovation in Artificial Intelligence


UST Global, a leading digital transformation solutions company, announced that it has won the 2020 most innovative AI application award for societal impact from Microsoft. UST Global has been a picture of consistency as the company has unlocked several technical accolades in its successive years. The AI Awards 2.0 is an initiative open to all Microsoft customers and partners who foster AI-led innovations to deliver meaningful impact. In 2019, UST Global had won an award for'Empowering Employees with AI' from Microsoft for delivering an AI-powered personal assistant to each employee. The award marks industry appreciation of UST Global's AI capabilities to build products that scale new heights in innovations in Artificial Intelligence.

ACM's 2020 General Election

Communications of the ACM

The ACM constitution provides that our Association holds a general election in the even-numbered years for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Members-at-Large. Biographical information and statements of the candidates appear on the following pages (candidates' names appear in random order). In addition to the election of ACM's officers--President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer--five Members-at-Large will be elected to serve on ACM Council. Please refer to the instructions posted at To access the secure voting site, you will need to enter your email address (the email address associated with your ACM member record) and your unique PIN provided by Election Services Co. Please return your ballot in the enclosed envelope, which must be signed by you on the outside in the space provided. The signed ballot envelope may be inserted into a separate envelope for mailing if you prefer this method. All ballots must be received by no later than 16:00 UTC on 22 May 2020. Validation by the Tellers Committee will take place at 14:00 UTC on 26 May 2020. Elizabeth Churchill is a Director of User Experience at Google. Her field of study is Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and User Experience (UX), with a current focus on the design of effective designer and developer tools. Churchill has built research groups and led research in a number of well-known companies, including as Director of Human Computer Interaction at eBay Research Labs in San Jose, CA, as a Principal Research Scientist and Research Manager at Yahoo! in Santa Clara, CA, and as a Senior Scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and FXPAL, Fuji Xerox's Research lab in Silicon Valley. Working across a number of research areas, she has over 100 peer reviewed top-tier journal and conference publications in theoretical and applied psychology, cognitive science, human-computer interaction, mobile and ubiquitous computing, computer-mediated communication, and social media, more than 50 patents granted or pending, and 7 academic books. Her team produces research that impacts a large number of Google's products (by shaping Google's Flutter and Material Design), influencing the work of hundreds of thousands of designers and developers globally, and thus affecting the user experience of millions of end-users. She continues to guest lecture at universities and to mentor early stage career professionals and students.

The terrible, fantastic life of AbleGamers COO Steven Spohn


When Twitch streamer DrDisrespect won the Trending Gamer prize at the 2017 Game Awards, there was a tiny riot on Twitter. There's always a buzz of hashtag activity after a winner is announced as people congratulate or disagree with the pick, but this time around, there was a small yet clear consensus: Steven Spohn should have won. As the Chief Operating Officer of AbleGamers, a charity working to make video games more accessible to people with disabilities, Spohn was the face of positive change in the industry. He regularly shared insightful affirmations on Twitter, as well as deeply personal stories about the realities of living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that was progressively destroying his motor neurons and muscles. Meanwhile, DrDisrespect was best known for wearing a mullet wig and mocking his teammates with racist accents in Fortnite streams.

Welltok Named Winner in 2020 Artificial Intelligence Excellence Awards


Welltok, a consumer health activation company, is proudly announcing it won an Artificial Intelligence Excellence Award for its AI-powered chatbot. The awards honor achievements in artificial intelligence (AI) and recognize organizations, products and people who bring AI to life and apply it to solve real problems. Welltok's winning AI solution, Concierge, is a chatbot that helps consumers navigate complicated benefits and health plan information in a conversational, simplified way. Concierge delivers thousands of conversational responses about benefits and healthcare costs for Welltok's clients and consumers. This reduces call volume to health plans, providers and employer benefit managers, and delivers an on-demand personalized experience.

Aarki Named Winner in 2020 Artificial Intelligence Excellence Awards


The Business Intelligence Group announced that Aarki was named a winner in its Artificial Intelligence Excellence Awards program. Aarki is a leading AI-enabled mobile marketing platform that helps companies grow and re-engage their mobile users, using machine learning (MI), big data, and engaging creative. Aarki is recognized for its advancement in prediction capabilities in mobile advertising. With their Pointwise Mutual Information (PMI) model, Aarki is able to effectively model Aarki-specific user conversion funnels while pre-training on non-attributed omnichannel event data. This allows for better calculation of the users' purchase probability and thus improving the return on investment (ROI) prediction and the install probability to decrease the cost per install (CPI).