George Konidaris Cofounds Lelapa AI To Develop Homegrown African AI
- Posted by Jesse Polhemus
- on March 31, 2023
Last summer, I interned at Brown University’s Data Science Initiative (DSI) with Professor Ritambhara Singh. The work I was doing, in computational genetics, was fascinating. And the office space was modern and light-filled. But most importantly, the lab was filled with welcoming grad students and amazing professors who worked right next to me.
The latest cover story from Conduit, the Brown CS annual magazine, is our deepest dive yet into the inner workings of our courses and how they advance our mission of serving an increasing diversity of students who have a broader set of career and life goals. It documents a new introductory course pathway, CSCI 0111-0112, as well as a new course, CSCI 0200, where all four introductory courses come together.
In the pages below, we situate the new sequence by giving brief histories of earlier ones, examine the phenomenon of introductory course tribalism, explain the motivation for this latest …
"Computer systems are the backbone of modern applications," says Brown CS Professor Malte Schwarzkopf, "and the science of building efficient, easy-to-use, and trustworthy computer systems is about discovering key ideas that help make people get more out of their computers. Great ideas in systems have had stunning practical impact on the industry. But systems research, like much of CS research in general, suffers from a lack of diversity: only a handful of papers in the top systems conferences have non-male lead authors."
At Brown CS and around the globe, interest in AI and related topics is soaring. CSCI 1470 Deep Learning, only a few years old, today has an enrollment of over 200 students. But as computer scientists hope to expand the field to historically underrepresented groups (HUGs), students from demographics that have born the brunt of algorithmic bias and deepfakes may be understandably hesitant to take part. exploreCSR: Socially-Responsible AI for Computational Creativity, a partnership between Brown CS and Google Research, aims to change that.
Tatyana Dyshlova’s last few years have been fast-moving. In 2020, she co-founded and took on the role of CEO at FuzzyBot, a video game development studio, with a small but experienced team of colleagues. Late last year, FuzzyBot announced that it had received $3.5 million in seed funding, a major step forward for the burgeoning company. And her team is now in the midst of developing its first game, which Tatyana says will merge elements of the popular “action rogue” and “life sim” genres to create a unique experience for players.
"Research in this field," says Brown CS Professor Daniel Ritchie, "is poised to revolutionize the means of personal expression for everyone: in writing, photography, design, architecture, and more."
He's talking about creative applications of artificial intelligence (creative generative models, detecting "fake" generated designs, AI for game playing, and more), which will be the focus of a new, nine-week, fully-funded, Brown CS summer residential program. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, "Artificial Intelligence for Computational Creativity" is an NSF Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site aimed at students from historically underrepresented groups (HUGs) in computer science, bringing them to the …
To promote diversity and inclusion in computer science, Brown CS graduates Luna Ito-Fisher ’21 and Ambika Miglani ’21 founded Decrypted By Us, an online learning community for underrepresented students interested in tech.
When I joined Brown CS as a communications and outreach specialist eight years ago, most of what I initially encountered was reassuringly as I’d expected. Coffee consumption was as high or higher than I’d seen in the tech sector. One of the legends of the field was lecturing in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. There was an entire mailing list devoted to a thriving board game culture.
But one of the first emails I received was more of a surprise. Written by a Brown CS alum, it was less of a lament for the past and more of a critique …
Each year, Cadence, a computational software company focusing on tools for electronic design automation, awards its Women in Technology Scholarship to support and celebrate young women who are starting their careers. Recently, Brown CS student Sreshtaa Rajesh was declared one of the winners, earning a $5,000 stipend. "Your impressive academic achievements, professor recommendations, and drive to shape the future of technology set you apart from the many talented women we considered," writes Academic Network Program Manager Mallory Clemons of Cadence. "We are excited for what the future holds for you and the impact you will make in technology."