Directors

Bistra Dilkina

Associate Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Dilkina’s work focuses on challenging computational problems in sustainability and sustainable development, particularly decision and optimization problems. She is interested in network design problems as they arise in large-scale wildlife conservation planning and urban planning. Dr. Dilkina received her PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University.

Eric Rice

CAIS Co-Founder; Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Rice is an expert in social network science and theory, and community-based research. His main focus is on youth homelessness and social network influence on risk-taking behaviors and resilience. He cofounded CAIS as a new home for AI and social work to create novel solutions to major social problems. Dr. Rice earned his PhD in Sociology from Stanford University.

Phebe Vayanos

Associate Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Computer Science, USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Vayanos‘ research is focused on Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research and in particular on optimization, machine learning, and game theory. She aims to build foundational knowledge in these areas to enable the design of intelligent systems that can operate reliably in the open world, in complex, uncertain environments, and against strategic adversaries. She designs algorithms that are suitable for use by human decision-makers, that are transparent and interpretable, and that integrate human value judgments. Her research is motivated by problems that are important for social good and aims to craft solutions that are fair and non-discriminatory, and therefore suitable to be deployed in our society. She earned her PhD in Operations Research at the Imperial College in London.

Associate Directors

Ajitesh Srivastava

Research Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Srivastava earned his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 2018. His research interests include social networks, algorithms, parallel computing, and machine learning applied to social good, crime, smart grids, and computer architecture.

Swabha Swayamdipta

Gabilan Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Swabha Swayamdipta is the Gabilan Assistant Professor of Computer Science at USC. Her research interests are in natural language processing, with a focus on studying data distributions to uncover and address spurious biases and annotation artifacts, towards improving robust generalization. Swabha was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the Allen Institute for AI, and received her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Masters from Columbia University. Her work has received an outstanding paper award at NeurIPS 2021 and an honorable mention for the best paper at ACL 2020.

Lindsay Young

Assistant Professor of Communication in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Dr. Young’s research sits at the intersection of public health, social networks, and communication studies and focuses on the network and communicative contexts that impact HIV prevention and risk engagement among young sexual and gender minorities. To these ends, she draws on a computational toolkit that includes stochastic network modeling and machine-learning approaches for textual analysis.

Advisory Board

Steve Acevedo

CEO and Founder of Agave® Systems and Regatta Solutions

Mr. Acevedo holds a bachelor’s science degree from USC. He serves “Living to Love Another Day,” an organization supporting efforts to eliminate student suicide and Fristers, an organization helping Teen parents. He serves on the Corporate Advisory Board at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering as well as the Athenian Leadership Council at the USC Price School of Public Policy.

Eric Horvitz

Chief Scientific Officer at Microsoft

Dr. Horvitz is interested in machine learning, natural language understanding, decision making, and reasoning; he is passionate about the intersection of AI and society and how AI can help people. He was elected as a fellow to the National Academy of Engineering, the Association for the Advancement of AI, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Horvitz earned his PhD and MD at Stanford.

Nicol Turner Lee

Director of the Center for Technology Innovation and Senior Fellow of Governance Studies at The Brookings Institute

Dr. Turner Lee researches public policy designed to enable equitable access to technology across the U.S. and to harness its power to create change in communities across the world. Her work also explores global and domestic broadband deployment and internet governance issues. She is an expert on the intersection of race, wealth, and technology within the context of civic engagement, criminal justice, and economic development. She also serves as Co-Editor-In-Chief of TechTank. Dr. Turner Lee graduated from Colgate University magna cum laude and has a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. She also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr. Turner-Lee is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology at Arizona State University.

Andrew Zolli

Chief Impact Officer at Planet

Andrew Zolli is a technologist, strategic foresight expert, and author. He oversees the humanitarian, ecological, and sustainable development Impact portfolio of Planet, a breakthrough geospatial imaging organization that has deployed the largest constellation of Earth-observing satellites in history. The imagery these satellites produce, when analyzed with advanced AI techniques, has transformational value for addressing a host of global challenges, including monitoring peace and conflict, ensuring human rights, predicting food insecurity, assessing climate change, delivering disaster response, and improving conservation, among others. At Planet, Andrew also chairs the company’s AI and Data Ethics program. He is the author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back, which has been published in more than a dozen languages worldwide.

Faculty

Corey Baker

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Corey directs the Network Reconnaissance Lab (NetRecon) which investigates full stack systems for distributing, protecting, and authenticating data in opportunistic networking scenarios for remote patient monitoring, smart cities, and natural disasters to improve quality of life. Baker is also a former Application and Framework Engineer in Health and Research Products at Apple Inc.

Anamika Barman-Adhikari

Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver

Dr. Barman-Adhikari’s research interests are centered on understanding social-contextual determinants of risk and protective behaviors among vulnerable youth populations (e.g., homeless and minority youth). She uses social network analysis to guide intervention design. She earned her MA in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, her MSW at CSU, Fresno, and her PhD in Social Work at USC.

Nicholas Barr

Assistant Professor in Social Work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. Barr’s research focuses on enhancing understanding of risk and protective factors for populations, like homeless young adults and military service members, with an elevated likelihood of experiencing trauma. His work includes intervention development and implementation leveraging principles of mindfulness to enhance resilience and improve mental and behavioral health outcomes in these populations.

Burcin Becerik-Gerber

Stephen Schrank Early Career Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Becerik-Gerber’s research is on acquisition, modeling, and analysis of data for user-centered built environments; development of frameworks and visualization techniques to improve built environment efficiency, sustainability, and resiliency while increasing user satisfaction. Dr. Becerik-Gerber earned her Doctor of Design in Project Management and Information Systems from Harvard University.

John Blosnich

Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for LGBTQ+ Health Equity in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Blosnich’s program of research seeks to emphasize the social context of suicide to be as paramount for prevention as individual mental health. Prior to USC, he worked for over 10 years with the US Department of Veterans Affairs in both suicide prevention and health equity research. The majority of his work has focused on sexual and gender minority populations as well as military veterans.

Carl Castro

Associate Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work; Director of the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families

Dr. Castro is retired from the Army after 30 years, where he obtained the rank of colonel. He received his PhD from the University of Colorado. His current research efforts focus on assessing the effects of combat and operations tempo on soldier, family, and unit readiness, and evaluating the process of service members’ transition into the military, as well as from military back to civilian life.

Rachel Carmen Ceasar

Medical Anthropologist & Assistant Professor in the Department of Population and Public Health at the USC Keck School of Medicine

Rachel Carmen Ceasar, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine. She is also the qualitative consultant for the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Biostatistics Epidemiology and Research Design. Rachel leads the USC Maternal Cannabis Lab, where qualitative and quantitative research is conducted to document the historic and systematic inequities people face when they use cannabis during pregnancy. Their goal in this work is to partner with maternal health providers, patients, and cannabis dispensaries to develop person-centered and harm reduction-based curriculum and education that supports–rather than criminalizes—parents.

Jaih Craddock

Assistant Professor in the University of California Irvine Department of Family Medicine

Dr. Craddock’s research utilizes social network and qualitative methods and artificial intelligence technologies to examine how social network dynamics and social media communication impacts decision making around sexual health-related behaviors (e.g., relationship dynamics, contraceptive use, HIV testing, interest in pre-exposure prophylaxis).

Jordan P. Davis

Senior Policy Researcher, RAND

Dr. Davis has devoted much of his career to interdisciplinary research that addresses substance use and developmental needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations. Dr. Davis also focuses on the utility and development of longitudinal data analyses in the structural equation modeling framework.

Kayla de la Haye

Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine in the USC Keck School of Medicine

Dr. de la Haye specializes in applying social network analysis and systems science to health promotion and disease prevention; specifically, developing interventions to enhance social networks to increase healthy behaviors (e.g., diet, physical activity, substance use) and reduce disease among at-risk populations. She holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Fei Fang

Assistant Professor in the Institute for Software Research in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Fang received her PhD in Computer Science at USC. Her research lies in computational game theory for security and sustainability (e.g. protecting the Staten Island Ferry by the US Coast Guard, combatting illegal tiger poaching in a Southeast Asia conservation area).

Emilio Ferrara

Professor of Computer Science in the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Communication at USC Annenberg, and Preventive Medicine at USC Keck School of Medicine

Dr. Ferrara’s research interests include computational social sciences, data science, network science, and AI for social good. He is a recipient of the 2016 Complex System Society Junior Scientific Award for outstanding contributions to computational social sciences. Dr. Ferrara earned his PhD in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Messina in Italy.

Anthony Fulginiti

Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver

Dr. Fulginiti earned his BA in Psychology at the University of Tampa and his MSW at the University of South Florida. Before receiving his PhD in Social Work from USC, he worked in mental health and healthcare settings. Dr. Fulginiti’s interests are identifying suicide risk factors among vulnerable populations in the context of community-based research and the implementation of suicide prevention.

Angelos Georghiou

Assistant Professor of Operations Management, Department of Business and Public Administration, University of Cyprus

Dr. Georghiou aims to understand the effect of uncertainty on decision making. His research focuses on developing tractable computational methods for the solution of stochastic and robust optimization problems, as well as applications in operations management, healthcare and energy. See Dr. Georghiou’s faculty website for more: http://www.ucy.ac.cy/dir/en/cb-profile/ageorg07

Andrés Gómez

Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Gómez works in discrete optimization and its application to interpretable, fair and robust machine learning. He is primarily interested in designing high-quality approximations to difficult learning problems, which can either be used as standalone methods or to inform exact algorithms. Dr. Gómez got his PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California Berkeley.

Meredith Gore

Associate Professor, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland

Dr. Gore is a conservation social scientist focused on exploring the human-environment relationship using risk concepts. Her current interests can be described as convergence research on conservation issues such as wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and illegal fishing. She received her PhD in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell University. Learn more on her webpage.

Jonathan Gratch

Research Full Professor of Computer Science and Psychology in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Co-Director of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Dr. Gratch completed his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Illinois in Urban-Champaign. His research focuses on the relationship between cognition and emotion, influence of emotion on decision making and physical behavior, and computational models of human cognitive and social processes, and explores these models’ role in shaping human-computer interactions in virtual environments.

Vishal Gupta

Assistant Professor of Data Sciences and Operations, USC Marshall School of Business

Dr. Gupta is interested in data-driven decision making and optimization, particularly in settings where data are so scarce, so high-dimensional or so noisy that high-quality estimation is impossible. He creates methods tailored to these environments. He has worked on applications in risk management, healthcare and business analytics. Dr. Gupta earned his PhD in Operations Research at MIT.

Daniel Hackman

Assistant Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Hackman studies effects of early stressors (e.g., socioeconomic, neighborhood disadvantage) on psychological and biological factors contributing to health and well-being disparities. He earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, and a RWJF Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Benjamin Henwood

Assistant Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Henwood is an expert in mental health and housing services research whose work connects clinical interventions with social policy. His proposal to end homelessness was adopted by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare as a grand challenge. Dr. Henwood earned his MSW and PhD in Social Work at New York University, and a MA in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Abigail Horn

Research Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Lead Scientist at USC Information Sciences Institute

Dr. Horn’s research combines approaches from computational social science and systems modeling with large-scale novel data sources to design solutions to pressing public health challenges, with a focus on nutrition and food supply systems. She earned a PhD in Engineering Systems from the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT.

Hsun-Ta Hsu

Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina

Dr. Hsu’s research focuses on health promotion among individuals experiencing homelessness. His recent research interest centers on the application of technology in developing/adapting sexual risk reduction interventions targeting youth experiencing homelessness. He earned his MSW at the University of Michigan, and his PhD in Social Work at the University of Southern California.

Robin Jia

Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Jia’s research interests span natural language processing and machine learning, especially question answering and scientific document understanding. His work focuses on improving the reliability of natural language processing systems across a broad range of scenarios. Dr. Jia earned his PhD in computer science from Stanford University in 2020.

Sara Kintzle

Research Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Military and Veterans Programs (MVP) in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Kintzle’s career has focused on building an expertise in the life experiences of individuals who have served in the military. Her research has focused on military transition, psychological and physical health, suicide, sexual trauma, employment, as well as the development and testing of interventions aimed at the prevention of adverse outcomes for service members and veterans.

Aleksandra Korolova

Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Aleksandra Korolova is a WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor of Computer Science at USC, where she studies societal impacts of algorithms and develops algorithms that enable data-driven innovations while preserving privacy and fairness. Prior to joining USC, Aleksandra was a research scientist at Google and a Computer Science Ph.D. student at Stanford. Aleksandra is a recipient of the 2020 NSF CAREER award, a co-winner of the 2011 PET Award for outstanding research in privacy enhancing technologies for exposing privacy violations of microtargeted advertising and a runner-up for the 2015 PET Award for RAPPOR, the first commercial deployment of differential privacy. Aleksandra’s most recent research, on discrimination in ad delivery, has received the CSCW 2019 Honorable Mention Award and Recognition of Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion, was a runner-up for the WWW 2021 Best Student Paper Award, and was invited for a briefing for Members of the House Financial Services Committee.

Kristina Lerman

Research Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Principal Scientist at USC Information Sciences Institute

Dr. Lerman received a PhD in Physics from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She applies network science and machine learning to problems in computational social science, including social media analysis, information diffusion in networks, social voting and recommendation, and more recently, dynamics of cognitive performance.

Yan Liu

Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering-Systems; Philip and Cayley MacDonald Endowed Early Career Chair; Director of the USC Machine Learning Center in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Liu earned her MS and PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests are developing scalable machine learning models for time series data and structured data with applications to social media analysis, computational biology, climate modeling, and healthcare. Before joining USC, Dr. Liu was a research staff member at IBM Research.

Fred Morstatter

Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Research Lead at USC Information Sciences Institute

Dr. Morstatter received a PhD in Computer Science from Arizona State University. He applies machine learning techniques to computational social science problems, including polarization, forecasting, fairness and bias, and discovering cultural values.

Sonya Negriff

Research Scientist, Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Dr. Negriff is a developmental psychologist with expertise in the effects of child maltreatment on physical and mental health. Her research focuses on biological (stress reactivity, pubertal timing, epigenetics, neuroimaging) and social (social support, social media use) mechanisms that increase vulnerability to mental health problems for children and adolescents with early trauma experiences.

Larry Palinkas

Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health and Chair of the Department of Children, Youth and Families in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Palinkas holds secondary appointments as Professor in Anthropology and Preventive Medicine at USC. He is interested in global health, health disparities, implementation science, community-based participatory research, and sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and related behavior on disease prevention and health promotion. He earned his MA and PhD in Anthropology from UCSD.

Robin Petering

CEO and Founder at Lens Co

Dr. Petering is a community-based researcher at Lens Co, a research and advocacy consulting enterprise. She oversees evaluation contracts with agencies serving young people experiencing homelessness. She prioritizes research inclusiveness and equity for all individuals and agencies. Dr. Petering is regarded as one of the leading experts in research on young adults experiencing homelessness.

Barath Raghavan

Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Raghavan is interested in networked systems, security and applied cryptography, and sustainable computing. His work comprises congestion control, rural Internet access, computing for sustainable agriculture, etc. He received his PhD in Computer Science at UC San Diego and his BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley in 2002.

Meisam Razaviyayn

Andrew and Erna Viterbi Early Career Chair, Associate Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science

Meisam Razaviyayn is an associate professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He is also the associate director of the USC-Meta Center for Research and Education in AI and Learning. Prior to joining USC, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota. He obtained his M.Sc. degree in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. Meisam Razaviyayn is the recipient of the 2022 NSF CAREER Award, the 2022 Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award, the 2021 AFOSR Young Investigator Award, the 2021 3M Nontenured Faculty award, 2020 ICCM Best Paper Award in Mathematics, IEEE Data Science Workshop Best Paper Award in 2019, the Signal Processing Society Young Author Best Paper Award in 2014, and the finalist for Best Paper Prize for Young Researcher in Continuous Optimization in 2013 and 2016. He is also the silver medalist of Iran’s National Mathematics Olympiad. His research interests include the design and the study of the fundamental aspects of optimization algorithms that arise in the modern machine learning era. Particularly, he is interested in the development of scalable algorithms for fair, private, and robust machine learning.

Xiang Ren

Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Ren works on machine learning and natural language processing. He is interested in computational methods and systems that extract machine-actionable knowledge from text data, specifically modeling sequence and graph data under weak/indirect supervision. He received his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Dr. Ren is also affiliated with USC ISI.

Suvrajeet Sen

Professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Dr. Sen’s research is devoted to optimization models, algorithms, and applications of Stochastic Programming problems. He earned his PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (OR) from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining USC, Dr. Sen was a Professor at Ohio State University and the University of Arizona. He served as the Program Director of OR and Service Enterprise Systems at NSF.

Vatsal Sharan

Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Sharan earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2020. His interests span the theory and practice of machine learning. He is particularly interested in the computational and statistical efficiency of machine learning algorithms, and in building machine learning models which are fair and robust.

Peng Shi

Assistant Professor of Data Sciences and Operations at the USC Marshall School of Business

Dr. Shi is interested in developing quantitative methodologies for the betterment of society. His current research focuses on optimization in matching markets, with applications in school choice, public housing, and online marketplaces. Prior to joining USC, he completed a PhD in operations research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research.

Sam Silva

Assistant professor of Earth Sciences, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Population and Public Health Sciences, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Sam Silva is an assistant professor of Earth Sciences, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California. Prior to his current position, he worked as a research data scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy research laboratory. He received a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Computation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.S. in Atmospheric Science and B.S. in Physics from the University of Arizona. His research is focused on air pollution and climate change, with particular interest in the convergence of traditional computational methods with modern data science and artificial intelligence techniques.

Sze-chuan Suen

Assistant Professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Faculty Member in the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

Dr. Suen earned her PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford. She is interested in developing applied mathematical models to identify epidemiological trends and evaluate health policies to support informed decision-making using simulation, dynamic systems modeling, cost-effectiveness analysis, and decision analysis (e.g., controlling tuberculosis in resource-constrained settings).

Milind Tambe

Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Dr. Tambe’s primary research interests lie in using AI for social good. He has contributed several foundational papers in AI in areas such as multiagent systems and security games. Dr. Tambe earned his PhD from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the director of the Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard.

Alexander Titus

Principal Scientist, USC Viterbi Information Sciences Institute

Alexander Titus, Ph.D., is a Principal Scientist at USC’s Information Sciences Institute in the AI Division. His work combines AI and machine learning, biotechnology, life sciences, and responsible technology development. Titus is also a Commissioner on the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology, and has held positions at Colossal Biosciences, Google, Amazon, and In-Q-Tel, and was the Principal Director for Biotechnology at the Department of Defense. He holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences and B.S. and B.A. degrees in Biochemistry and Biology, respectively. For more details, you can visit his profile on USC’s Information Sciences Institute website.

Darlene Woo

Assistant Director of Clinical Education in the Department of Social Work at California State University, Northridge

Ms. Woo is involved with research projects related to homelessness. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from USC. During her career, Ms. Woo has helped homeless/runaway youth, HIV-positive youth, probation youth, and transitional youth; and has worked with community-based health centers, home health care businesses, academic research departments, and various non-profit organizations.

Shinyi Wu

Associate Professor in USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work; Associate Director of Social and Health Services at USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging; Assistant Professor in USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Wu uses engineering and social work to identify, develop, and analyze real-world approaches and applications to amplify humanity in healthcare delivery systems and improve quality, efficiency, and equity of services for disadvantaged populations with chronic illnesses. Dr. Wu earned her PhD in Industrial Engineering, Health Systems specialization at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Amulya Yadav

Assistant Professor at College of Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Yadav focuses on developing theoretically grounded computational approaches to real-world problems that can have an impact in the field. His research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Multi-Agent Systems, Computational Game-Theory and Applied Machine Learning. His algorithms have been deployed in the real-world, particularly in the field of public health and social justice.

Jieyu Zhao

Gabilan Assistant Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Jieyu Zhao’s research interest lies in fairness and ethics of NLP and ML models. Her research proposes ways to detect and mitigate social biases from different models. Jieyu got her PhD from the computer science department at University of California, Los Angeles and spent one year as an NSF CI Fellow at University of Maryland, College Park. Her work has been widely recognized by the community with a best long paper award at EMNLP 2017 and her research has been featured in various media.

Angela Zhou

Assistant Professor of Data Sciences and Operations in the USC Marshall School of Business

Dr. Zhou’s research interests are in data-driven sequential decision making under uncertainty leveraging statistical machine learning, causal inference, and the interplay of statistics and optimization, to improve operational systems. She is particularly interested in applications-motivated methodology with guarantees in order to bridge method and practice. She was a co-program chair for ACM conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO).

Staff

Laura Onasch-Vera

Project Administrator

Laura Onasch-Vera, MSW is a project administrator for the Coordinated Entry System Triage Tools Research and Refinement project. She has worked on research projects that addresses youth experiencing homelessness focusing on HIV prevention, positive youth development, understanding risk and resiliency, rapid needs assessments, and violence prevention.

Hailey Winetrobe Nadel

Center Operations Coordinator

Ms. Winetrobe Nadel earned her MPH from UCLA and her BS in Health Sciences: Community Health from Northern Arizona University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Her public health work centers on homelessness, HIV risk and preventive behavior including sexual health and substance use, and social networks.

Student Leaders

Nathan Justin

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Nathan Justin received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College, where his research revolved around machine learning and its intersections with information theory, search, and anomaly detection. His current research interests are broadly within machine learning, encompassing both theory and applications.

PhD Students

Negin Ashrafi

PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Negin received her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, where she conducted research on product development with data mining techniques. She is generally interested in machine learning, operations research, data science, and decision making.

John Bunyi

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

John is interested in studying the application of mental health technologies for increasing access to mental health care for traditionally marginalized populations and for increasing treatment fidelity and effectiveness. He received a BA in Cognitive Psychology from UC Irvine, and his MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Junyang Cai

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Junyang obtained his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Bucknell University. His research interest lies in machine learning for optimization and real-world optimization problems.

Liv Canning

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Liv plans to study mindfulness adaptations in different contexts. In particular, Liv is interested in mindfulness based therapies for survivors of sexual assault and mindfulness based interventions within a restorative justice context. Liv received their bachelors degree in psychology and sociology from Oberlin College.

Weizhe Chen

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Weizhe obtains his bachelor’s degree in computer science in Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research interest lies in general artificial intelligence, including machine learning, optimization, decision making, multi-agent system, and computational sustainability.

Olga Koumoundouros

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Olga is working on building bridges between academic research and community-based violence prevention and intervention efforts. Her interest in critical race theory, the intersection of gun violence with interpersonal violence, police violence and trauma motivates her practice to center survivor voices.Olga has worked at the LA County Office of Violence Prevention for almost 4 years and has an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

Taoan Huang

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Taoan obtained his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Tsinghua University in China. He previously worked on artificial intelligence and computational game theory for wildlife conservation. He is interested in decision making in multi-agent system and computational sustainability.

Weimin Huang

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Weimin received her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science and Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. She is interested in decision-making, optimization and machine learning, with applications to societal problems.

Eugene Jang

PhD student in Communication in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Eugene’s research interests include communication technology, social support, health communication, and social networks. Her recent work focuses on studying how support is exchanged on social media platforms using computational tools and social network analysis. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Communication from Seoul National University and is a Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies fellow.

Qing Jin

PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Qing obtained her bachelor’s degree in Control Science and Engineering at Zhejiang University in China, where she conducted research in the optimization of an industrial ecological park. She is interested in optimization and machine learning.

Caroline Johnston

PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Caroline received her bachelor’s degree in the Mathematical Sciences from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. There she conducted research on optimally scheduling and routing foster care visitations for an agency in Upstate New York. She is generally interested in optimization and machine learning, focusing on applications for social good.

Nathan Justin

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Nathan Justin received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College, where his research revolved around machine learning and its intersections with information theory, search, and anomaly detection. His current research interests are broadly within machine learning, encompassing both theory and applications.

Haoming Li

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Li received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Master’s degree in Economics and Computation from Duke University. He is interested in issues at the intersection of economics and computation, with application to AI.

Hannah Murray

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Hannah obtained her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and master’s degree in analytics from Georgia Tech. While pursuing her studies, she conducted research using social media data to measure awareness of endangered species. Her current interests lie broadly within machine learning, particularly in applications that aid in conserving the planet’s biodiversity.

Yuanfeixue (Feixue) Nan

PhD student in Communication in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Feixue’s interests lie in health communication and dynamic social networks, with a special focus on mental health and social support. Her work seeks to understand the possibility of improving health outcomes by leveraging social support exchanges embedded in networks. She also cares about the information process involved with social activism and health equity in the digital space.

Laura Petry

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Laura’s research centers on young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability. Her areas of interest include youth voice, housing interventions, coordinated entry systems, population estimation, and public policy. She earned her BA in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and her MSW in Management and Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jaspreet Ranjit

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

I graduated with my Bachelor’s and Masters in Computer Science from the University of Virginia. Currently, I’m interested in developing computational methods to investigate the quality of datasets with respect to how socio-political issues impacting marginalized communities are framed on social media, and further, how we can leverage and improve large language models (LLMs) capabilities in reasoning about social issues.

Qingshi Sun

PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Qingshi obtained his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, where he conducted research in application of vaccine allocation and wildfire control via tools from reinforcement learning and stochastic optimization. He is interested in interdisciplinary research in the areas of machine learning, data science, and operations research, especially as it applies to societal problems.

Bill Tang

PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Bill is interested in applying machine learning and optimization towards social policy issues like affordable housing and consumer credit. He received his Bachelor’s in Operations Research from Columbia. He also previously worked at Morgan Stanley Research analyzing the US Housing market and mortgage-backed securities.

Omkar Thakoor

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Omkar completed his MS in Computer Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently a part of the Teamcore Research Group. He is broadly interested in AI and theoretical computer science, particularly Algorithmic and Computational Game Theory. His past and current work includes UAV routing, learning in markets, and cyber security, all employing game-theoretic modelling.

Yingxiao Ye

PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Mr. Ye obtained his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at the Nanjing University, and his master’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he conducted research in stochastic optimization in power system and automated vehicle. He is interested in optimization, machine learning and data science.

Masters Students

John Dryden

Masters student in Operations Research Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

John is interested in applying interpretable machine learning techniques to high-impact situations. Under USC CAIS Associate Directors Phebe Vayanos and Jordan Davis, he is studying the prospective benefits of optimizing treatment assignments for people undergoing treatment for substance use disorders.

Aditi Hande

MS Student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Aditi is interested in machine learning research in the field of natural language processing, specifically in analyzing disagreements and biases in texts. She has completed her Engineering in Computer Science from Pune Institute of Computer Technology and will be assisting the team in event organization and management. Apart from that she enjoys hiking and is a professional kathak and belly dancer.

Undergraduate Students

Maria Clara Carvalho Panicali

Undergraduate Student of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Maria Clara is a sophomore from São Paulo, Brazil. As the Social Media Coordinator, she is responsible for creating social media content to promote the ongoing research done by the students and faculty at CAIS.

Isaac Gerstmann

BS Student in Computer Science at the Viterbi School of Engineering with a minor in Cinematic Arts

Isaac is a Sophomore from Culver City, CA studying computer science. As a CURVE fellow at CAIS, he is developing a model to determine patient success in substance abuse treatment programs. Outside of CAIS he is involved in USC Makers, 3D4E, and the climbing team.

Pratyush Jaishanker

BS Student in Computer Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Pratyush Jaishanker is an undergraduate student from Falls Church, Virginia. He is working with USC CAIS Co-Director Bistra Dilkina on the AI for Biodiversity Conservation project to use data science to model species distribution in different climate conditions. His work includes processing ecological data and modeling using R.

Nicole Russack

BA Student in Computer Science and Business Administration in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Nicole Russack is a sophomore from New York City. She is working with USC CAIS Co-Director Bistra Dilkina on the AI for Biodiversity Conservation project to use machine learning to understand wildlife tracking. Her task involves using geospatial data collection, visualization, and machine learning models.

Paul Somodi

BS Student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Paul is a computer science student from Cedar Falls, Iowa. He is working with USC CAIS Associate Director Bistra Dilkina to use machine learning to study risk factors for substance abuse. His tasks include producing machine learning models utilizing health and socioeconomic data, as well as studying feature importance.

Jack Wang

BS Student in Computer Science Business Administration in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Jack is a computer science student from Hefei, China. He is working for Dr. Dilkina in AI for Biodiversity Conservation project. His task includes geospatial data collection, visualization, and machine learning model for wildlife trafficking prevention. He is also experienced in iOS development and ML data analysis.

Visiting Researchers

Simon Blessenohl

Software Developer, DeepL

Simon obtained a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Southern California. His research focused on issues related to risk and uncertainty in political decision-making. At CAIS, he works with Caroline Johnston and Phebe Vayanos on preference elicitation and recommendation in multi-agent settings.
3. Software Developer, DeepL

Nathanael Jo

Research fellow at the Regulation, Evaluation, and Governance Lab (RegLab) at Stanford University

Nathan is a research fellow at the Regulation, Evaluation, and Governance Lab (RegLab) at Stanford University. At CAIS, he works with Associate Director Phebe Vayanos to make interpretable and data-driven decisions for allocating housing resources to homeless individuals using machine learning techniques.

Han Kyul Kim

PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Han Kyul received his BS in Industrial & Systems Engineering and Business and Technology Management from KAIST and his MS in Industrial Engineering from Seoul National University. He is working with Associate Directors Phebe Vayanos and Jordan Davis to optimize data-driven treatment assignments for those with substance use disorders. His research interest includes machine learning and data mining.