Grant Schoenebeck

By |

My current research combines machine learning tools and economic approaches (e.g game theory, mechanism design, and information design) to develop and analyze systems for eliciting and aggregating information from of diverse group of agents with varying information, interests, and abilities.
This work applies to scenarios where a collective decision-making process is required, such as peer grading, peer review, crowd-sourcing, content moderation, misinformation detection, surveys, and employment hiring/evaluation.
More broadly, I am interested in multi-agent systems, a subfield of AI; data economics; and algorithmic game theory.

Matthew Bui

By |

Dr. Bui integrates interdisciplinary, sociotechnical, and community-based research methods and approaches to explore the opportunities for, and obstacles to, racial and data justice within society. Bui’s research primarily examines: 1) how individuals and communities call attention to—and subvert—issues of power and inequality within and through data and data science; and 2) the impacts of digital media and data-driven technologies within Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities. In all, Dr. Bui seeks to advance both critical frameworks as well as novel data-driven methodologies that engage with the intersections of racial and data justice.

Allen Flynn

Allen Flynn

By |

I study medication prescription information and work on teams that create and evaluate applications of natural language processing to medication prescription information. The main thrust of my research in pharmacy informatics focuses on automating subtasks that pertain to medication prescribing by clinicians and medication prescription review by pharmacists. In addition, I work with the Knowledge Systems Lab in the Department of Learning Health Sciences to specify model repository requirements for making AI/ML models findable, accessible. interoperable, and reusable.

Tian An Wong

By |

Analysis of policing technology and police data, including impact assessment of surveillance technology, media sentiment analysis, and fatal police violence. Methods include topological data analysis, natural language processing, multivariate time series analysis, difference-in-differences, and complex networks.

 


Research Highlights

Qiong Yang

Qiong Yang

By |

My research program at the University of Michigan (UM) integrates the fields of biophysics, quantitative systems biology, and bottom-up synthetic biology to understand complex stochastic cellular and developmental processes in early embryos.
We have developed innovative computational and experimental techniques in microfluidics and imaging to allow high-throughput quantitative manipulation and single-cell lineage tracking of cellular spatiotemporal dynamical processes in various powerful in vitro and in vivo systems we established in my lab. These systems range from cell-free extracts, synthetic cells reconstituted in microemulsion droplets, presomitic mesoderm (PSM) and progenitor zone (PZ) cells dissociated from the zebrafish tail buds, their re-aggregated 2D and 3D cell-cell communications, ex vivo live tissue explants, and live embryos.
Our current research questions center around the understanding of the design-function relation of robust biological timing, growth, and patterning, how individual molecules and cells communicate to generate collective patterns, and how biochemical, biophysical, and biomechanical signals work together to shape morphogenesis during early embryo development.

Bing Ye

Bing Ye

By |

The focus of our research is to address (1) how neuronal development contributes to the assembly and function of the nervous system, and (2) how defects in this process lead to brain disorders. We take a multidisciplinary approach that include genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, advanced imaging (for neuronal structures and activity), electrophysiology, computation (including machine learning and computer vision) and behavioral studies.

We are currently studying the neural basis for decision accuracy. We established imaging and computational methods for analyzing neural activities in the entire central nervous system (CNS) of the Drosophila larva. Moreover, we are exploring the possibility of applying the biological neural algorithms to robotics for testing these algorithms and for improving robot performance.

A major goal of neuroscience is to understand the neural basis for behavior, which requires accurate and efficient quantifications of behavior. To this end, we recently developed a software tool—named LabGym—for automatic identification and quantification of user-defined behavior through artificial intelligence. This tool is not restricted to a specific species or a set of behaviors. The updated version (LabGym2) can analyze social behavior and behavior in dynamic backgrounds. We are further developing LabGym and other computational tools for behavioral analyses in wild animals and in medicine.

The behavior that this chipmunk performed was identified and quantified by LabGym, an AI-based software tool that the Ye lab developed for quantifying user-defined behaviors.

The behavior that this chipmunk performed was identified and quantified by LabGym, an AI-based software tool that the Ye lab developed for quantifying user-defined behaviors.

What are some of your most interesting projects?

1) Develop AI-based software tools for analyzing the behavior of wild animals and human.
2) Use biology-inspired robotics to test biological neural algorithms.

How did you end up where you are today?

Since my teenage years, I have been curious about how brains (human’s and animals’) work, enjoyed playing with electronics, and learning about computational sciences. My curiosity and opportunities led me to become a neuroscientist. When I had my own research team and the resources to explore my other interests, I started to build simple electronic devices for my neuroscience research and to collaborate with computational scientists who are experts in machine learning and computer vision. My lab now combines these approaches in our neuroscience research.

What makes you excited about your data science and AI research?

I am very excited about the interactions between neuroscience and data science/AI research. This is a new area and has great potential of changing the society.

Changxiao Cai

Changxiao Cai

By |

Changxiao Cai’s research interests lie broadly in the intersection of statistics, optimization, and machine learning. He is interested in developing provably scalable methods for information extraction from high-dimensional data, with an aim to achieve the optimal interplay between statistical accuracy and computational efficiency.

Minji Kim

Minji Kim

By |

Communication mechanisms exist inside our cells to regulate gene expression and function. In cells, communication between a gene and sequences that regulate the gene occurs through physical contact. These physical contacts between regulatory element enhancers and the gene promoters may activate gene expression. Our goal is to understand how this communication occurs within the nucleus. In particular, we leverage 3D genome mapping technologies to capture the dynamic chromatin interactions and study gene regulation in the context of developmental biology. Algorithms on graphs allow us to interpret these data generated from high-throughput sequencing assays.

How did you end up where you are today?

I studied electrical engineering, hoping to advance the field of information and coding theory. Instead, I aim to understand the communication mechanisms governing gene transcription.

What makes you excited about your data science and AI research?

Interpreting biological data is often a creative process. I enjoy browsing through the data, connecting pieces, and finding patterns.

Talia Moore

Talia Moore

By |

My research involves discovery, modeling, and design for comparative biomechanics and bio-inspired robotics. I develop new information-based methods to analyze the behavior and locomotion of animals in natural environments and use laboratory-based experiments to build detailed models of how animal motion is generated by muscles, tendons, and bones. I’ve developed machine learning methods to automatically segment non-standard animals in photographs for taxonomically-broad phylogenetic comparative analyses of color pattern and behavior. I also use Finite Element Analysis to understand how the evolution of 3-dimensional shape in animal bones and teeth have adapted to a variety of ecological situations, such as novel substrates or diet.

Because FEA and other biomechanical methods are so computationally intensive, I’ve adopted a surrogate model approach that uses Bayesian Optimization to perform stimulus selection and make accurate predictions of sample performance with the minimum number of model datapoints. I’ve also begun applying this surrogate model approach to explore the design space of bio-inspired grippers made from dielectric fluid actuators. Data-driven modeling also informs the design rigid legged robots in my lab, which we will use to test hypotheses regarding how limb shape affects overall locomotion.

Finite element modeling of snake fangs helps us understand how fang shape can be adapted for different types of loading conditions, and therefore prey types. We use Bayesian Optimization to select which species to analyze for our surrogate model, which minimizes the computation time while maximizing prediction accuracy.

Additional Information

What are some of your most interesting projects?

Jerboas are bipedal desert rodents that hop erratically with zig-zag trajectories when they are escaping from predators (some describe them as “ricochetal”). These animals are about the size of your fist, but they can jump over 3 feet straight up in the air or forwards. Little was known about their locomotion, and the majority of biomechanical locomotion research was performed in lab environments on treadmills. However, training an animal to run on a treadmill reduces the variability in direction and speed that the animals would need to survive in the wild. So I went out into the desert and filmed these animals jumping and running on their natural substrates.

To understand how these trajectories might confound predators, I measured the unpredictability (or entropy) and found that bipedal desert rodents are much less predictable than quadrupedal desert rodents. Then, taking a closer look using high-speed video cameras, I determined that they have at least 5 distinct bipedal gaits. Using both kinematic and dynamic data, I built a modified Spring-Loaded Inverted Pendulum model with a torsional spring to control the neutral leg swing angle. I then performed a numerical search using a continuing approach to test neighboring parameter values for viability to discover bifurcations in gait structure. I found that by decoupling the neutral leg swing angle between left and right legs, the model was capable of transitioning between gaits across the entire speed range, just as the real jerboas do. This research will be used to inform the design of controllers for legged robots to switch gaits smoothly across a wide range of speeds.

How did you end up where you are today?

I started off not knowing at all what I wanted to do, but enjoying martial arts. A friend told me to check out the biomechanics class in my last year in undergrad at UC Berkeley, and I was hooked! I joined the lab immediately and worked there for two years after graduating. I wanted to learn everything, so I worked on a different project with a different graduate student every day of the week. During that time, I worked with cockroaches, geckos, iguanas, and agama lizards, learning about how they generate and control their motions. I was also lucky to get hands-on experience with designing and building bio-inspired robots and using them to test biological hypotheses to reveal fundamental principles of animal locomotion.

After that, I went on to study biomechanics and evolutionary biology at Harvard, where I was introduced to jerboas for the first time. They are such strange and wonderful creatures that I knew I wanted to study them for the rest of my life. I came to UM in 2015 and worked as a postdoc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where I developed a new modular ethogram system to analyze snake anti-predator behaviors and design snake-mimicking soft robots. Then I became a Research Scientist in the Robotics Institute, followed by being hired as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering in January of 2021. Now I am appointed in both Robotics and Mechanical Engineering and have affiliations with Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Museum of Zoology.

What is the most significant scientific contribution you would like to make?

I really want to build tools to bridge the gap between biology and engineering. So many biological questions are constrained by the technology we have available. By forming connections between these fields, I have already facilitated more quantitative study of non-steady-state locomotion in natural environments. There is also a big gap between what motions animals and robots are capable of performing. I hope to learn strategies from animals and design robots to succeed in unstructured and complex environments.

What makes you excited about your data science and AI research?

I’m extremely excited that data science is making it possible to analyze the types of large datasets that we can collect from animals. There is no limit to the amount of data you can collect about animal locomotion, behavior, appearance, or structure, and the types of studies that used to take decades can now be done in a semester thanks to data science and AI. This makes it possible to integrate information from multiple different data streams and understand more complex relationships between animals, their environments, and how these relationships change through space and time.

What are 1-3 interesting facts about yourself?

I’ve done fieldwork in Malaysia, China, Australia, California, the Bahamas and Peru. I think it’s incredibly important to examine animals in their natural habitats, because our assumptions about their behaviors might be totally wrong if we only see them in zoos or labs.
The first sentence I try to learn in every language is “Where is the bathroom?”
My two rules for fieldwork are: 1) Never stop moving and 2) Never sit down or lean on anything.

Leopoldo Pando Zayas

Leopoldo Pando Zayas

By |

My main research interest is in quantum gravity. Various aspects of quantum information and quantum chaotic systems have proven to be essential in recent developments.