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GVU Center Brown Bag: 2020 Foley Scholar Award Winners -- Ceara Byrne, Azra Ismail, and Koustuv Saha


Ceara Byrne: Technology for Working and Service Dogs

In the Animal Computer Interaction (ACI) lab, I create and study technologies that improve communication between working dogs, such as dogs trained for search and rescue, and their handlers. In particular, my research focuses on improving the outcomes of service and working dog training. Not all dogs that go into these training programs as puppies have the temperament to become successful assistance and working animals. However, it is very difficult to determine if a dog has a temperament suitable for a service or working animal early on in life. That is where my research comes in. In my work, I investigate how aspects of canine temperament can be detected from interactions with sensors, often placed inside of dog toys that I design and build. After running tests where dogs interact with these sensors, I develop models that use sensor data to predict the success of assistance dogs in advanced training.

Azra Ismail: Human-Centered Design of Artificial Intelligence Systems for Frontline Health

There has been growing interest in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in frontline health, motivated by a shortage of skilled medical experts and medical equipment, particularly in the Global South. The global COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the potential for these efforts, but also their many limitations. These systems may increase the work burden on frontline health workers, many of whom are women engaged in underpaid and invisible care and data work. In this talk, I will examine the AI for Global Health discourse, the gaps in current efforts, and opportunities for design, while centering the perspectives of frontline health workers. I will draw on data from three years of ethnographic fieldwork that I have conducted with women frontline health workers and women from underserved communities in Delhi (India), as well as an extensive literature review of ongoing AI efforts in this space. Finally, I will draw on a rich body of literature on Human-Computer Interaction for Development (HCI4D), post-development critique, and transnational feminist theory to discuss lessons for AI efforts that target social good more broadly.

Koustuv Saha: Computational and Causal Approaches on Social Media and Multimodal Sensing Data: Examining Wellbeing in Situated Contexts

A core aspect of our social lives is often embedded in situated communities, such as our workplaces, neighborhoods, localities, and school/college campuses. The inter-connectedness and inter-dependencies of our interactions, experiences, and concerns intertwine our situated context with our wellbeing. A better understanding of our wellbeing and psychosocial dynamics will help us devise strategies to address our wellbeing through proactive and tailored support strategies. However, existing methodologies to assess wellbeing suffer from limitations of scale and timeliness. Parallelly, given its ubiquity and widespread use, social media can be considered a “passive sensor” that can act as a complementary source of unobtrusive, real-time, and naturalistic data to infer wellbeing. This talk will present an overview of computational and causal approaches for leveraging social media in concert with complementary multimodal sensing data to examine wellbeing in situated contexts. This talk will show how theory-driven computational methods can be applied on unique social media and complementary multimodal sensing data to capture attributes of human behavior and psychosocial dynamics in situated communities.


Speaker Bios:

Ceara Byrne is a sixth year PhD student in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. She believes in creating things around empathy before everything be it physical or digital. Ceara uses a data-driven approach to develop products that put people and their needs first. She has a masters in both Industrial Design (ID) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) from Georgia Tech. Her PhD research focuses on instrumenting dog toys with various sensors for measuring computational ethograms of behavior. With these computational ethograms we are better able to understand aspects of working dog temperament and behavior, and as funding for these centers mainly come from donations, programs can more efficiently train more working dogs or create new programs that can benefit individuals with disabilities.

Azra Ismail is a PhD candidate in Human-Centered Computing in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. Her research lies at the intersection of ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development), HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), and global health. Her research has been published at premier HCI venues, and has received a Best Paper Honorable Mention award at CHI. Azra is also the co-founder of MakerGhat, a non-profit based in Mumbai that creates safe and open makerspaces to support communities in realizing their ideas for local social, economic, and political change.

Koustuv Saha is a doctoral candidate in Computer Science in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, where he is advised by Prof. Munmun De Choudhury. His research interest is in Social Computing and Computational Social Science. In his research, he adopts machine learning, natural language, and causal inference analysis to examine human behavior and wellbeing using social media and online data, along with complementary multimodal sensing data. His work has been published at several high prestige venues, including CHI, CSCW, ICWSM, IMWUT, JMIR, ACII, FAT*, and WebSci, among others. He is a recipient of the GVU Foley Scholarship Award and Snap Research Fellowship. He has been a finalist of the Symantec Graduate Fellowship, and his research has won the Outstanding Study Design Award at ICWSM 2019. His research has been covered at prestigious media outlets, including the New York Times, CBC Radio, NBC, 11Alive, the Hill, and the Commonwealth Times. During his Ph.D., he has had research internships at Snap Research, Microsoft Research, Max Planck Institute, and Fred Hutch Cancer Research. Earlier, he completed his B.Tech (Hons.) in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur. He was also awarded the NTSE Scholarship by the Govt. of India, and holds an overall industry research experience of five years.

Schedule of Brown Bag Speakers Spring 2021

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