For his work focusing on the risks involved in deploying fully autonomous computer systems, Romeil Sandhu has been awarded $450K from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), through the Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program.
Sandhu is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, jointly administered by Stony Brook’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and School of Medicine. His research could impact autonomous systems for a variety of systems that rely on artificial Intelligence, including self-driving automobiles and drones.
Professor Sandhu is one of only 43 scientists and engineers to receive the award, for his proposal addressing 3D Interactive Feedback Control for Autonomous 2D Imaging Systems.
AFOSR received more than 285 proposals for this prestigious early career award, open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received PhD or equivalent degrees in the last five years. The program’s objective is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.
“Rome is a brilliant young faculty with tremendous mathematical talent,” said Joel Saltz, MD, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics. “I am extremely excited about this well-deserved award which will allow him to continue to generate groundbreaking new results.”
Sandhu’s research is focused on developing models and theory for understanding dynamical systems through the confluence of discrete geometry, statistics, and control spanning topics ranging from network science, computational vision, systems biology, and machine learning. In particular, the AFSOR awarded Sandhu’s work in combating risk complexities we face in the real world when deploying autonomous systems such as unmanned (driverless) vehicles.
“Today, there is no universal machine learning algorithm capable of handling all real-world scenarios, so we often require humans to ‘interact’ with these systems to deal with the ‘unknown unknown.’ Whether it is protecting the soldier in the field, performing situational awareness, or self-driving cars, we have not reached a point in which we can trust complete autonomy over basic human input,” Sandhu said.
“Artificial Intelligence is a strategic research thrust for our college. Rome’s research will lead to breakthroughs that will enable humans to better interface with intelligent systems and will impact a wide range of AI-driven technologies,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “This prestigious award is a major career accomplishment for Rome and I am really proud to have faculty of his caliber in our college.”