Computer scientists among 2017 MacArthur 'Genius Grant' winners
- Two computer science professionals and one mathematician were among the The MacArthur Foundation's 2017 MacArthur Fellows Program recipients. The "Genius Grant" awards each of the 24 fellows, who have "exceptional creativity" in various industries, $625,000 over a five-year period.
- Stefan Savage, a computer scientist and professor at the University of California, received the award for his work in preventive cybercrime which "contextualizes" cyberthreats in terms of hackers' socialistic approach and monetary motivations.
- Regina Barzilay, a professor of computer science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received a grant to further her work in "computational linguist" development in machine learning.
MacArthur has awarded 30 computer-based scientists since 1990. Their purposes range from theoretical to applied computing for code, syntax of natural language in computers and quantum computing. This year's winners were more engaged in the human element of computers and cyber personalities.
There is a crossbreed of computer and social science to better the integration and deployment of human nature in technology. Computer science is an expanding field, but the demand to integrate more humanity into AI applications is also increasing.
Savage's work is to look past the "technical details" of cybercrime and investigate the human intentions behind them. His work revolves around the question, "what is the ecosystem that makes the attackers want to do this?" In doing so, he looks for ways to block a malicious actor's intentions and their potential profits from such crimes.
In contrast, Barzilay's work relies on the engaging side of human nature. She compares her work to that of a child learning language built around context. Barzilay trains machine learning with multiple examples of a task so it can successfully and independently convert an input to an output.
- MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Fellows Program
- New York Times MacArthur Foundation Names 2017 ‘Genius’ Grant Winners
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