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
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
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.