Computer Science and Engineering faculty and students participate in AAAI-2015 and IAAI-15

AAAI 2015 - ChoeFaculty and students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at Texas A&M University recently participated in the top joint conference in the world for artificial intelligence research. The AAAI Twenty-Ninth Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-2015) co-located with the Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI-15) was held in Austin, Texas, from Jan. 25-29.

During the IAAI-15 Paper Session on Semantic Web, Knowledge Based Systems, and Ontologies, CSE doctoral student Sasin Janpuangtong presented, "Leveraging Ontologies to Improve Model Generalization Automatically with Online Data Sources," co-authored by CSE Assistant Professor Dylan Shell and Janpuangtong. Their research describes a framework that allows a novice to create models that generalize from data easily. "Making it easier to produce models, opens up vistas for inexperienced users; and helping automate the process of making sense of—and providing new interpretations for—existing data is one way to tame the deluge of data," said Shell.

An invited presentation, "Fully Decentralized Task Swaps with Optimized Local Searching," by Lantao Liu, CSE Shell's former graduate student, Nathan Michael, and Shell was presented by Postdoctoral Fellow Liu during the Texas VII section of the AAAI-2015 Technical Sessions / Robotics: Science and Systems 2014 Presentations. The research demonstrated that the proposed fully decentralized task swap method "converges quickly without sacrificing much optimality."

AAAI 2015 - HammondCSE Associate Professor Tracy Hammond, director of the Sketch Recognition Lab; Laura Barreto, Hammond's previous summer Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates student; and CSE doctoral student Paul Taele co-authored "Maestoso: An Intelligent Educational Sketching Tool for Learning Music Theory." Barreto and Taele presented their research during the IAAI-15 Paper Session on Machine Learning, Information Fusion, and HCI. They described an intelligent sketch user interface for teaching music theory to novice music students through sketching and automated feedback.

In AAAI-2015's Technical Funding Information Session, CSE graduate student Anshul Gupta presented an article entitled "Automatic Assessment of OCR Quality in Historical Documents," which describes an iterative classification algorithm to identify errors in optical character recognition of early-modern texts (1475-1800). The work was a collaborative project between Professor Laura Mandel from Texas A&M's Department of English and CSE professors Richard Furuta and Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna.

Workshops to discuss frontiers in AI were featured at the conference. CSE Professor Yoonsuck Choe, director of the Brain Networks Laboratory, and his students presented the poster "Tool Construction and Use Challenge: Tooling Test Rebooted" at Workshop 6 - Beyond the Turing Test. The poster proposed the possibility of using tool construction and tool use as a measure of intelligence, an ability observed only in humans and a handful of animals.

Another workshop co-located with AAAI-2015 was the NSF-sponsored Workshop on Research Issues at the Boundary of AI and Robotics organized by CSE Unocal Professor Nancy M. Amato, CSE's Shell, and Dr. Sven Koenig of the University of Southern California. One of the goal's of this workshop was to produce a roadmap for future work at the boundary of AI and robotics. CSE Raytheon Professor Robin R. Murphy was an invited speaker posing the question—AI and Robotics: Are We Asking the Right Questions? Murphy also co-chaired a breakout session for the workshop.

AAAI 2015 - SuarezTEES Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) students NSF Graduate Fellow Brittany Duncan, NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow Jesus Suarez, and Grant Wilde, a CSE graduate student in computer engineering, exhibited different rescue robots at the AAAI-15 exhibition. The students and CRASAR director Murphy were featured in interviews by Austin affiliate KVUE ( and Houston KHOU (

Photo top left: Dr. Yoonsuck Choe (3rd from left) and his students
Photo bottom left: Jesus Suarez manning the CRASAR booth
Photo right: Laura Barreto at lectern