Computer Science Distinguished Seminar - University of Houston
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Computer Science Distinguished Seminar

AI for Social Good: Decision Aids for Countering Terrorism, Extinction and Homelessness

When: Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Where: PGH 232
Time: 11:00 AM

Speaker: Dr. Milind Tambe, University of Southern California

Host: Dr. Aron Laszka

With the maturing of AI and multiagent systems research, we have a tremendous opportunity to direct these advances towards addressing complex societal problems. I will focus on the problems of countering terrorism (for public safety and security), extinction (wildlife conservation), and homelessness (public health in low resource communities). One key multiagent systems challenge that cuts across these problem areas is how to effectively deploy limited intervention resources. In addressing this challenge, my group has provided novel contributions in multiagent systems research, particularly in terms of computational game theory and agent modeling. For public safety and security, I will introduce our Stackelberg security games model for effectively allocating limited security resources. These security games models are used by agencies such as the US Coast Guard and the US Federal Air Marshals Service to assist in the protection of ports, flights and other critical infrastructure. Second, I will discuss the new green security games to allocate limited resources in protecting endangered wildlife. By advancing adversary modeling in these games, we have helped removal of snares and arrests of poachers in national parks in Uganda. Third, for public health, I will outline challenges of using limited resources for spreading health information in low resource communities, and algorithms based on games against nature. These algorithms show significant improvements over traditional methods in harnessing social networks to spread HIV-related information among homeless youth. I will also point to directions for future work, illustrating the significant potential of AI for social good.


Milind Tambe is Helen N. and Emmett H. Jones Professor in Engineering at the University of Southern California(USC) and the Founding Co-Director of CAIS, the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, where his research focuses on advancing AI and multiagent systems research for Social Good. He is a fellow of AAAI and ACM, as well as recipient of the IJCAI John McCarthy Award, ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award, Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland security award, INFORMS Wagner prize in Operations Research, Rist Prize of the Military Operations Research Society, IBM Faculty Award, Okawa foundation award, RoboCup scientific challenge award, and other awards. Prof. Tambe has contributed several foundational papers in Artificial Intelligence in areas such as intelligent agents and computational game theory; these papers have received over a dozen best paper and influential paper awards at conferences such as AAMAS, IJCAI, IAAI and IVA. In addition, Prof. Tambe pioneering real-world deployments of security games has led him and his team to receive meritorious commendations from the US Coast Guard Commandant, LA Airport Police, and the US Federal Air Marshals Service.