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From the College of Natural Sciences
New Partnership Aims to Demystify Artificial Intelligence “Black Boxes”

New Partnership Aims to Demystify Artificial Intelligence “Black Boxes”

Isil Dillig (left) and Swarat Chaudhuri are part of a new, multi-institution initiative aimed at better understanding what happens inside artificial intelligence "black boxes."

The promise of artificial intelligence to solve problems in drug design, discover how babies learn language, and make progress in many other areas has been stymied by the inability of humans to understand what's going on inside AI systems.

Joydeep Biswas Builds Robots to Navigate the Real World

Joydeep Biswas Builds Robots to Navigate the Real World

The Biswas lab demos robotic cars at campus events like the college donor brunch and Explore UT.

Joydeep Biswas leads the Autonomous Mobile Robotics Laboratory (AMRL) at UT, where he and other researchers work on building mobile service robots that assist humans in everyday environments. The lab investigates programs and algorithms that enable these robots to better navigate changing conditions, incorporate human assistance and recover from failures intelligently.

New Sandboxing Approach in Web Browser Increases Security

New Sandboxing Approach in Web Browser Increases Security

A powerful new approach to securing web browsers, using a tool called WebAssembly, is getting its first real-world application in the Firefox browser. Developed by a team of researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, the University of California San Diego, Stanford University and Mozilla, the approach shifts some of the browser code into "secure sandboxes" that prevent malicious code from taking over the user's computer.

Researchers Say Spread of Coronavirus Extends Far Beyond China’s Quarantine Zone

Researchers Say Spread of Coronavirus Extends Far Beyond China’s Quarantine Zone

Infectious disease researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and other institutions in Hong Kong, mainland China and France have concluded there is a high probability that the deadly Wuhan coronavirus spread beyond Wuhan and other quarantined cities before Chinese officials were able to put a quarantine in place. At least 128 cities in China outside of the quarantine zone, including cities with no reported cases to date, had a greater than even risk of exposure, according to a paper currently in press with Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Student Mindful of What We Owe to Education

Student Mindful of What We Owe to Education

Education is powerful — it's a means to inciting progress in the world, empowering individuals and transforming lives. Education's role in facilitating positive change is a major theme in Texas Computer Science student Dora Gurfinkel's life. She's so aware of it, in fact, that she is using her education to elicit real change within the university while paying homage to her family's unique history.

Computer Scientist Scott Aaronson Named as ACM Fellow

Computer Scientist Scott Aaronson Named as ACM Fellow

Scott Aaronson has been named as an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow.

Texas Computer Science professor Scott Aaronson has been named as a 2019 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow. ACM is the world's largest computing society and is dedicated to advancing the field. Each year, the organization honors members that have made a significant contribution to the field of computing and information technology.

Building Industry Bridges: Computer Scientist Tackles New Role for Sony, While Leading at UT

Building Industry Bridges: Computer Scientist Tackles New Role for Sony, While Leading at UT

Peter Stone has been tapped by Sony Corp. to head up the U.S. branch of its new global artificial intelligence research division, called Sony AI. Photo credit: University of Texas at Austin.

In a sign of the highly competitive environment for top talent in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), the Sony Corporation this week tapped Peter Stone, a faculty member in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, to lead the newly established Sony AI in the United States.

Natural Sciences Researchers Win President’s Award for Global Learning

Natural Sciences Researchers Win President’s Award for Global Learning

Two teams with College of Natural Sciences faculty members and students – and three additional teams with undergraduates from the college – were recently honored with the President’s Award for Global Learning, which aims to highlight innovative solutions to global problems and give interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students the opportunity to take those projects to international sites.

UT Austin Launches Institute to Harness the Data Revolution

UT Austin Launches Institute to Harness the Data Revolution

Research from UT Austin professors and TRIPODS members Alex Dimakis and Eric Price shows that it is possible to learn a deep generative model that dreams images of human faces (right panel), trained by observing only occluded images (left panel). The middle panel shows a previous approach for solving this problem, that fails. [Figure from: AmbientGAN: Generative models from lossy measurements, by A. Bora, E. Price and A.G. Dimakis, ICLR 2018.]

Advances in machine learning are announced every day, but efforts to fundamentally rethink the core algorithms of AI are rare.

How Do Computers Learn? Sometimes by Driving Cars and Spinning Tunes

How Do Computers Learn? Sometimes by Driving Cars and Spinning Tunes

​Members of The University of Texas at Austin's Learning Agents Research Group have been a resource for members of the media about how to teach artificial intelligence systems to learn.

Computer Scientist Weighs in on Quantum Supremacy

Computer Scientist Weighs in on Quantum Supremacy

Google’s quantum computer. Credit: Google

Google announced earlier this week that a team of researchers made a milestone achievement: "quantum supremacy," or the creation of a quantum computer capable of calculations beyond the capacity of a traditional supercomputer. To put this in perspective, a number of media outlets, including New York Times, Scientific American, Nature, Quanta Magazine, BBC and NPR, relied on the expertise of Scott Aaronson, a professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.

Artificial Intelligence System Gives Fashion Advice

Artificial Intelligence System Gives Fashion Advice

People turn to many different sources for clothing style advice, from magazines to best friends to Instagram. Soon, though, you may be able to ask your smartphone.

A UT Austin Spin-Out Beats the Odds, Turning Data into Knowledge

A UT Austin Spin-Out Beats the Odds, Turning Data into Knowledge

Juan Sequeda and Daniel Miranker launched Capsenta, a start-up based on their research at the University of Texas at Austin which was recently acquired by data.world. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

It was 2006 when Juan Sequeda (BS '08, PhD '15), then a new UT Austin computer science transfer student, saw a fellow undergraduate drop a bunch of papers on the floor. When he bent over to help pick up the papers, he was surprised to see that they were research articles about an obscure subfield in computer science that Sequeda himself had recently become obsessed with: the Semantic Web.

Computer Security Expert Named Simons Foundation Investigator

Computer Security Expert Named Simons Foundation Investigator

Brent Waters has been selected as a 2019 Simons Investigator in Theoretical Computer Science.

Computer scientist Brent Waters of The University of Texas at Austin has been selected as a 2019 Simons Investigator in Theoretical Computer Science by the Simons Foundation, for his work in cryptography and computer security.

New AI Sees Like a Human, Filling in the Blanks (Updated)

New AI Sees Like a Human, Filling in the Blanks (Updated)

Computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have taught an artificial intelligence agent how to do something that usually only humans can do—take a few quick glimpses around and infer its whole environment, a skill necessary for the development of effective search-and-rescue robots that one day can improve the effectiveness of dangerous missions.