Rada Mihalcea, Janice M. Jenkins Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and director of the department’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, has been elected a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).
Mihalcea performs research at the intersection of computer science and linguistics, studying natural language and human interaction. Her projects apply text mining to huge collections of written interactions – online comments, tweets, and other conversations – to identify properties such as deception and humor in text. She specializes in identifying the underlying emotions, beliefs, and values expressed in written text, and using that to draw inferences about the meaning of the text and certain characteristics of the writer.
Her Language and Information Technologies (LIT) research group uses these techniques to produce a number of important insights into how humans interact with one another, with computers, and even with news and information on the web. The applications of these studies have been broad, producing systems that can automatically detect fake news and methodologies to assist counselors working on substance abuse, medication adherence, and other behavior changes.
Mihalcea is also known for her commitment to increasing participation in the field of computing. She has piloted a number of programs and courses to increase the pipeline and retention of women in engineering and computer science throughout her time with the department. Her efforts have made the world of computing more accessible and encouraged a broader range of students to pursue graduate studies and research careers in the field.
Mihalcea spearheaded a number of programs in CSE working toward this goal, including the Girls Encoded outreach program, the “Women in Computing” seminar series, an entry-level course designed for students with no background in CS, and a research mentorship program that provides hands-on research experience to undergraduates. Through these and other initiatives, Mihalcea has consistently demonstrated her commitment to making CS accessible and appealing to as many women as possible. To recognize her work in this area, Mihalcea has been recognized with both the U-M Center for the Education of Women (CEW+)’s 2018 Carol Hollenshead Award and the 2019 U-M Sarah Goddard Power Award.
Mihalcea has co-authored three books on graph-based natural language processing and text mining for social sciences, including a recent textbook titled Text Mining: A Guidebook for the Social Sciences. She is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and an NSF INSPIRE (Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education) Award. She served as general chair or program co-chair for the major conferences in her field. She currently serves as President of the Association for Computational Linguistics.
About the AAAI and the AAAI Fellows Program
Founded in 1979, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (formerly the American Association for Artificial Intelligence) is a nonprofit scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.
The AAAI Fellows program was started in 1990 to recognize individuals who have made significant, sustained contributions – usually over at least a ten-year period – to the field of artificial intelligence. In February of each year, the AAAI membership nominates individuals whom they consider to have achieved unusual distinction in the field. These nominations are then considered by the Fellows Selection Committee, comprising nine AAAI Fellows who are current members of AAAI and chaired by the immediate Past President of AAAI. The committee generally selects five-ten new Fellows each year.
As of 2021, seven U-M CSE faculty have been elected as AAAI Fellows.