Olga Russakovsky receives award for AI4ALL, artificial intelligence work

Wednesday, Aug 5, 2020
by Sharon Adarlo

Olga Russakovsky, assistant professor of computer science and participating faculty member of the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML), received the Emerging Leader Abie Award recognizing her AI4ALL work and research on artificial intelligence.

“The Abie Award Selection Committee commended Olga for developing AI as a tool for social good, both through her individual research addressing algorithmic bias in AI and the co-founding of AI4ALL to help develop and support a diverse future generation of AI technologists,” noted the online announcement from AnitaB.org, which recognized Russakovsky. AnitaB.org is an organization that fosters the growth of women in technical fields.

Russakovsky’s organization, AI4ALL, offers high schoolers from underrepresented groups mentorship, hands-on workshops and networking in the AI field. Russakovsky recently ran the annual AI4ALL summer camp at Princeton this past July. More on AI4ALL can be read here.

Russakovsky is actively engaged in research on computer vision, human-computer interactions, machine learning, and bias and fairness in artificial intelligence. This work includes developing methods to determine an AI program’s efficacy and applications such as unmanned reconnaissance vehicles or household assistants.

As part of her award, Russakovsky will speak at the virtual gathering for AnitaB.org’s Grace Hopper Celebration, which will be held on Sept. 26 and Sept. 29 to Oct. 3.

“It’s an honor,” Russakovsky said. “Building the next generation of robust AI technology, mitigating bias in AI systems, ensuring that AI benefits all people rather than the select few — all these require not just technical innovation but also a diverse and representative team of leaders. This is why my lab’s technical research as well as the outreach work we do at AI4ALL are both vitally important to the field.”

Before receiving this award, Russakovsky was also selected for the 2020 Anita Borg Early Career Award in May by Computing Research Association-Widening Participation (CRA-WP). For more on that award, read the announcement from Princeton’s computer science department here. The award recognized Russakovsky for her outreach to underrepresented groups via AI4ALL and her research as well.

“Olga is not only forging new paths in computer science research through her innovative research, but her efforts to help diversify and make machine learning and AI more inclusive is invaluable,” said Peter Ramadge, CSML director.

Before joining the computer science department at Princeton in 2017, Russakovsky was a postdoctoral research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and served as a research intern at NEC Labs America’s media analytics team. She was awarded the MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 Award, and Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers. She has also been featured in more than a dozen articles, from New York Times to Forbes.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and concurrently a master’s degree in computer science, from Stanford University in 2007. Her thesis was titled, “Algorithms for Training Conditional Log-Linear Models.” She continued at Stanford and earned her doctoral degree in computer science in 2015 with a thesis that was called, "Scaling Up Object Detection.”