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Credit: Singapore Management University

Credit: Singapore Management University

SMU professor recognised by IEEE as one of the AI’s 10 to Watch

Recently, Assistant Professor Akshat Kumar from the School of Information Systems (SIS) at Singapore Management University (SMU) has been recognised as one of “AI’s 10 to Watch” by the IEEE Intelligent Systems Magazine.

Founded in 1963, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Today, IEEE has more than 423,000 members in over 160 countries who are primarily engineers, scientists, and allied professionals in electrical and computer sciences, engineering, and related disciplines.

The AI’s 10 to Watch award recognises young scientists who have made significant contributions in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and have received their PhDs in the last five years. Nominations for this biennial award are sought from a wide range of senior AI researchers from both academia and industry.  

Assistant Professor Akshat Kumar is being recognised for his contributions in the field of AI, and in particular for his work on automated planning and decision making in multiagent systems. With this recognition, Prof Kumar joins the group of 9 other researchers worldwide who have been selected for this award in 2018.

“I feel greatly honoured and humbled to be selected as one of the "AI's 10 to Watch". Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to have great mentors, advisors, and collaborators, and an intellectually stimulating work environment at SMU's School of Information Systems. I am very thankful for their continued support and collaboration which is invaluable for my research and academic career,” said Prof Kumar.

Prof Kumar’s research is in the area of planning and decision making under uncertainty with a focus on multiagent systems and urban system optimisation. His work addresses the needs of rapidly interconnected society and urban environments, from personal digital assistants to self-driving taxi fleets and autonomous ships, and develops computational techniques that will allow such complex ecosystem of autonomous agents to operate in a coordinated fashion.

Over the past few years, Prof Kumar’s work has addressed various challenges in such diverse urban settings as scalability to thousands of agents, uncertainty and partial observability, and resource constrained optimisation.

In addition to academic contributions, Prof Kumar also participates in the Fujitsu-SMU Urban Computing and Engineering Corporate Lab. He along with his collaborators have designed maritime simulators and novel intelligent scheduling algorithms that can coordinate vessel traffic in Singapore Straits for better safety of navigation. Such simulators and approaches are based on studying the real aerial location data for ships that enter Singapore waters over a large period of time.

On his future research, Prof Kumar shared that he sees multiagent systems becoming more and more relevant with the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT).

“We are going to be surrounded with agents that help us control our homes, our cars, and even our digital lives. I am particularly excited by several research challenges which arise with such unprecedented connectivity, such as dealing with the problem of scale, ensuring safe co-habitation of humans and autonomous agents, and ensuring coordination in the presence of both cooperating and competing agents,” he said.

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