Welcome to AAAI Undergraduate Consortium!

Information about all things related to AAAI-UC

AAAI-21 UC @ the AAAI site
Return to the UC main page

AAAI 2021 main site
Thirty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
February 2-9, 2021

AAAI-21 Undergraduate Consortium

Program of Events and Invited Talks

February 2, 2021

Schedule at-a-glance

Time (PST) Event
8:00 - 8:15 Opening remarks
8:15 - 9:30 Talk: Roles for Computing in Social Justice by Dr. Rediet Abebe
9:30 - 9:45 Break
9:45 - 11:00 UC Scholar Mixer
11:00 - 12:00 Lunch Break
12:10 - 13:30 Talk: Wanted: You and Your Mind by Dr. Ann Gates
13:30 - 13:45 Break
13:45 - 14:30 Grad Student Panel: What is grad school REALLY like?
14:30 - 15:45 UC Poster Practice Exercise
16:00 - 16:45 UC Poster Session
16:50 - 17:00 Closing remarks

Keynote Speaker: Rediet Abebe


Talk Title

Roles for Computing in Social Justice


Recent scholarship warns that computing work has treated problematic features of the status quo as fixed, failing to address and often even exacerbating deep patterns of injustice and inequality. This begs the question: what roles, if any, can computing play to support and advance fundamental social change? Through an analysis informed by critical scholarship, we articulate four such roles – computing as a diagnostic, formalizer, rebuttal, and synecdoche. We discuss examples of research in algorithms, machine learning, and mechanism design that cut a path between solutionist and critical perspectives. We use these to highlight potential ways in which computational techniques can support, rather than supplant, other modes of understanding and tackling social inequities. Examining Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) – a multi-disciplinary research network – as a case study, we discuss how these insights may be used to support advocacy work aimed at fostering more equitable and just systems.


Rediet Abebe is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley and a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Abebe holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell University and graduate degrees in mathematics from Harvard University and the University of Cambridge. Her research is in artificial intelligence and algorithms, with a focus on equity and justice concerns. Abebe co-founded and co-organizes Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) – a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary initiative. Her dissertation received the 2020 ACM SIGKDD Dissertation Award and an honorable mention for the ACM SIGEcom Dissertation Award for offering the foundations of this emerging research area. Abebe’s work has informed policy and practice at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. She has been honored in the MIT Technology Reviews’ 35 Innovators Under 35 and the Bloomberg 50 list as a one to watch. Abebe also co-founded Black in AI, a non-profit organization tackling equity issues in AI. Her research is influenced by her upbringing in her hometown of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Keynote Speaker: Ann Gates


Talk Title

Wanted: You and Your Mind


Dr. Ann Quiroz Gates is the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs at the University of Texas at El Paso. She holds the AT&T Distinguished Professorship and served as the Chair of the Computer Science Department (2005-2008 and 2012-2020) and Associate VP of Research and Sponsored Projects (2008-2012). Gates is the Executive Director of the Computing Alliance for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), one of NSF’s eight National INCLUDES Alliances that promote the importance of inclusion and equity in advancing innovation and discovery. She also directs the NSF-funded CyberShARE Center of Excellence that advances interdisciplinary education and research. Gates was a founding member of the NSF Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure and served on the Board of Governors of IEEE-Computer Society 2004-2009. Gates was a member of the Naval Research Advisory Committee (2016-2018), AAAS Board appointed Committee on Opportunities in Science (2014-2017), and past member of the Computer Science Accreditation Board (2011-2013). Gates will receive the 2021 Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award, and she has received the 2015 Great Minds in STEM’s Education award, the CRA’s 2015 A. Nico Habermann Award, the 2010 Anita Borg Institute Social Impact Award, and the 2009 Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing. She was named to Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 Influential Hispanics in 2006 for her work on the Affinity Research Group model.


We want to thank our Faculty mentors, panelists and speakers, as well as our graduate student mentors and panelists.

Faculty Panelists

Rediet Abebe, University of California, Berkeley
Henny Admoni, Carnegie Mellon University
Nikhil Garg, University of California, Berkeley
Ann Gates, The University of Texas at El Paso
Yolanda Gil, University of Southern California
Judy Goldsmith, University of Kentucky
Leshell Hatley, Coppin State University
Pat Morreale, Kean University
Jorge Ortiz, Rutgers University
Peter Stone, The University of Texas at Austin

Graduate Student Panelists

De’Aira Bryant, Georgia Tech
Taylor Kessler Faulkner, University of Texas, Austin
Jiaoyang Li, University of Southern California
Thao Nguyen, Brown University

Graduate Student Mentors

Laura Biester, University of Michigan
Victoria Edwards (she, her), University of Pennsylvania
Jiaoyang Li, University of Southern California
Thao Nguyen, Brown University
Preeti Ramaraj, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Akanksha Saran, University of Texas at Austin