Research

I am interested in artificial intelligence and theoretical computer science, and especially topics that allow me to leverage algorithmic and combinatorial insights to solve problems with real-world relevance. Areas I am particularly active in include:

Decision-Making in International Relations

The study of how nations and other actors make decisions during conflicts is a major field of interdisciplinary social science research, pulling together ideas from political science, artificial intelligence, game theory, network analysis, and many others. As the use of big data and artificial intelligence in political science and international relations is a relatively new field, there are many foundational and theoretical questions still open. Developing better answers to these questions allows us to understand and predict how conflicts begin and evolve, and how to best prevent them.

Theoretical Foundations of Artificial Intelligence

While artificial intelligence research is continuing to produce stunning breakthroughs on the applied side of things, our foundational understanding of why AI techniques - especially neural networks - work so well is severely lacking. I am interested in this work both as an attempt to create a rigorous mathematical understanding for the engineering breakthroughs of the last decade, as well as an intrinsically interesting computational framework for theory of computing.

Fairness and Bias in Algorithmic Decision-Making

Data science and machine learning techniques are widely used to process, predict, and optimize the world. Unfortunately, the success of many of these techniques at studying the latent information found in large data sets causes them to also identify and mimic systemic and cultural biases in the data they are trained on. As algorithms become widely used to make socially and politically relevant decisions, it is imperative that we understand how racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry influence our data and our algorithms and that we develop tools and techniques to prevent algorithms from duplicating those same biases.

Graph Theory and Social Network Analysis

From the computer networks that control our finances, to the social networks that define our communities, to the global trade networks that define international relations, networks are a fundamental part of the world around us. I am interested in both theoretical questions in graph theory and graph algorithms, as well as applied questions about how the structure of networks can be used to inform how we understand social connections between people.