Kai Wang AI2050 Fellowship

Faculty is First from Georgia Tech to Receive New Fellowship for AI Research

Schmidt Sciences has selected Kai Wang as one of 19 researchers to receive this year’s AI2050 Early Career Fellowship. In doing so, Wang becomes the first AI2050 fellow to represent Georgia Tech. 

“I am excited about this fellowship because there are so many people at Georgia Tech using AI to create social impact,” said Wang, an assistant professor in the School of Computational Science and Engineering (CSE).

“I feel so fortunate to be part of this community and to help Georgia Tech bring more impact on society.”

Kai Wang ARMMAN visit
Assistant Professor Kai Wang visits India as part of his work with ARMMAN to leverage technology that improves maternal and child health. Photo courtesy of Kai Wang. Top photo: Assistant Professor Kai Wang takes a portrait on the School of CSE floor in the Coda Building. Photo by Kevin Beasley/College of Computing

AI2050 has allocated up to $5.5 million to support the cohort. Fellows receive up to $300,000 over two years and will join the Schmidt Sciences network of experts to advance their research in artificial intelligence (AI).

Wang’s AI2050 project centers on leveraging decision-focused AI to address challenges facing health and environmental sustainability. His goal is to strengthen and deploy decision-focused AI in collaboration with stakeholders to solve broad societal problems.

Wang’s method to decision-focused AI integrates machine learning with optimization to train models based on decision quality. These models borrow knowledge from decision-making processes in high-stakes domains to improve overall performance.

Part of Wang’s approach is to work closely with non-profit and non-governmental organizations. This collaboration helps Wang better understand problems at the point-of-need and gain knowledge from domain experts to custom-build AI models.   

“It is very important to me to see my research impacting human lives and society,” Wang said. "That reinforces my interest and motivation in using AI for social impact.”

[Related: Wang, New Faculty Bolster School’s Machine Learning Expertise]

This year’s cohort is only the second in the fellowship’s history. Wang joins a class that spans four countries, six disciplines, and seventeen institutions.

AI2050 commits $125 million over five years to identify and support talented individuals seeking solutions to ensure society benefits from AI. Last year’s AI2050 inaugural class of 15 early career fellows received $4 million.

The namesake of AI2050 comes from the central motivating question that fellows answer through their projects:

It’s 2050. AI has turned out to be hugely beneficial to society. What happened? What are the most important problems we solved and the opportunities and possibilities we realized to ensure this outcome?

AI2050 encourages young researchers to pursue bold and ambitious work on difficult challenges and promising opportunities in AI. These projects involve research that is multidisciplinary, risky, and hard to fund through traditional means.

Schmidt Sciences, LLC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supported by philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Schmidt Sciences aims to accelerate and deepen understanding of the natural world and develop solutions to real-world challenges for public benefit.

Schmidt Sciences identify under-supported or unconventional areas of exploration and discovery with potential for high impact. Focus areas include AI and advanced computing, astrophysics and space, biosciences, climate, and cross-science.

“I am most grateful for the advice from my mentors, colleagues, and collaborators, and of course AI2050 for choosing me for this prestigious fellowship,” Wang said. “The School of CSE has given me so much support, including career advice from junior and senior level faculty.”