•   When: Friday, February 07, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  •   Speakers: Emma Tosch
  •   Location: Engineering Building 4201
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Computer programs automate more tasks than ever before: data-driven algorithmic decision-making informs consequential real-world outcomes in disparate domains such as judicial sentencing, self-driving cars, and massively open online courses. Consequently, an increasing number of procedures that we traditionally do not think of as computer programs are now either encoded in software, or interact with software.

 In this talk I will present two representative  two paradigms: between-subjects field experiments featuring human participants (e.g., Facebook users), and within-subjects laboratory experiments featuring autonomous software (e.g., Atari-playing deep reinforcement learning agents). In this talk, I will show how verification and code generation can be used to automate the design and analysis of between-subjects experiments. Then I will present a novel testing framework for black-box learned agents and show how inferences about observed behaviors often do not hold up under test.

I will conclude by discussing the near term future of my research vision: tools for correct, usable, fair, and privacy-preserving experimentation.


Emma Tosch is a PhD candidate in the College of Computer and Information Sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst working under the supervision of Prof. Eliot Moss and Prof. David Jensen. Her research interests are in programming language design, domain-specific languages, and reproducibility in research. She is particularly interested in building languages and tools for data scientists and social scientists. Her work on SurveyMan has won first place in the 2014 ACM student research competition at PLDI, a best paper award at OOPSLA 2014, and a 2015 Outstanding Synthesis Award in the College of Computer and Information Sciences. She earned her B.A in English Literature from Wellesley College in 2008 before working at a healthcare IT start up. She obtained a post-baccalaureate certificate and M.A. in Computer Science from Brandeis University in 2011.

Posted 8 months, 1 week ago