Why We Need to See Inside AI’s Black Box

This article was originally written by me for The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. It appeared there on May 26, 2023. For some people, the term “black box” brings to mind the recording devices in airplanes that are valuable for postmortem analyses if the unthinkable happens. For others it evokes small, minimally […]

The Caprice of Algorithms

When we design algorithms or implement them into computing systems, we rarely think about the policies that they instantiate. We rarely think beyond trite generalizations, of the countless users who may be at the receiving end of the vagaries of our algorithms. If our project becomes immensely successful, then we will count our users in […]

Is Computing Innovation Getting Harder?

The angst, or perhaps irritation, that we feel at times about the rate of innovation was captured pithily by Peter Thiel, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” I am going to confine my thoughts to the world I know best, innovations in the field of computing. Many of us, inside the ivory […]

Your Job Can Be Done Better By My Algorithm

Citation Reams have been written on jobs being replaced by algorithms and by robots running on algorithms. Much of the most impactful writing has come from economists — my two favorite ones are Joseph Stiglitz and Daron Acemoglu, or for a more lay person perspective read this NYTimes article that covers their work. Some of […]

Three algorithms to live by: LSTM, FedAverage, C-W

Citation We come across many algorithms in our education and work. Here I look at three relatively recent ones from the area of Machine Learning (ML), and more specifically from my vantage point of reliability and security of ML. There have been reams written on each, at various levels of technical depth. So obviously I […]

Big Data and Security: Oxymoron?

Citation Big data technologies have dramatically changed the world we live in, and in double quick time. And you know that unless you have been living under a Martian rock. We take it for granted in many of our daily interactions — in our personal lives as well as at work. Big data technologies fuel […]

Is Computing a Team Sport?

Most of us, in the field of computing, like to believe we are good team players. This seems not just the politically correct line, but also makes our work more feel more enjoyable [1]. I am encompassing in my discussion a fairly wide swath, those who are in research, both academic and industrial, in the […]

Short Take: Continuous Computer Vision on Mobiles

The area of continuous computer vision algorithms that can run on mobile or embedded or edge or take your pick of resource-constrained platform, has seen a great outpouring of work. This post is a look at how this field has been marching along, seen from the eyes of a computer systems person, as opposed to […]

Computer Systems Research: The Joys, the Perils, and How to Count Beans Well

This post was first written for the ACM SIGARCH blog and appeared there on Nov 30, 2020. Thanks to Rajeev (Balasubramonian, University of Utah) for instigating this post and then guiding with helpful prods and suggestions. Citation This post is broadly meant for computer systems researchers, and that is a big tent, including members of […]