Duke CompSci Alumnus Lirong Xia Publishes Book on AI and ML

Lirong Xia

Alumnus Lirong Xia graduated from Duke in 2011 with a PhD in Computer Science and in 2010 with an MA in Economics at Duke. Now a CompSci associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), he has published a book entitled Learning and Decision-Making from Rank Data. This is part of Mongan & Claypool's Synthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

The Book
Lirong’s book surveys recent progress toward addressing learning and decision-making from rank data. Making a fair, fast, and optimal decision requires consideration of three disciplines:

  1. Economics (for fairness)
  2. CS (for making fast decisions)
  3. Statistics (for making optimal decisions)

There have been successful interdisciplinary studies on these respective discrete interfaces, but not on all three aspects simultaneously – and this book addresses this modern approach.

Since Duke
When he was at Duke, Lirong worked with Professor Vince Conitzer to address computational social choice issues, like examining the computational aspects of voting. Since graduation, he was a CRCS fellow and NSF CI Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Research on Computation and Society, and then became a CS professor at RPI in 2013. He also edits Mathematical Social Sciences and serves on the editorial board of Artificial Intelligence Journal. The recipient of an NSF CAREER award, a Simons-Berkeley Research Fellowship, the 2018 Rensselaer James M. Tien ’66 Early Career Award, he was also named as one of "AI's 10 to watch" by IEEE Intelligent Systems.

What’s Next?
Lirong’s research is heading into exciting new directions, including designing efficient and effective algorithms and leveraging AI techniques to realize theoretical advancements. Examples of this include building real-world systems that can learn human preferences from everyday conversations and behavior, understanding consensus in group decision making, and supporting deliberation and decision-making in a non-intrusive way. He recently began exploring additional topics such as differential privacy and blockchains in an IBM-supported project with his colleagues Jim Hendler, Oshani Seneviratne, and IBM collaborator Geeth De Mel. Says Lirong: “It's exciting to go beyond the comfort zone.”

Congratulations to Lirong Xia on his accomplishments!