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Three promising researchers from the Informatics Institute (UvA) and the CWI received a Veni Grant

24 December 2021

Simon Telen (CWI), Eric Nalisnick (Informatics Institute) and Vlad Niculae (Informatics Institute)  received Veni Grants from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The recipients can use the Grants – up to a maximum of 280,000 per researcher – to further develop their research ideas over the next three years.

Eric Nalisnick (Informatics Institute): Continual Learning under Human Guidance.
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems need to adapt to new scenarios. Yet, we must ensure that the new behaviours and skills that they acquire are safe. Nalisnick will develop AI techniques that allow autonomous systems to adapt but to do so cautiously, under the guidance of a human.

Vlad Niculae (Informatics Institute): Intelligent interactive natural language systems you can trust and control.
Artificial intelligence agents are seemingly approaching human performance in natural language tasks like automatic translation and dialogue. However, deployed in the wild, such systems are out of control, learning to produce harmful language even unprompted. Using recent machine learning breakthroughs, Niculae rethinks language generation for trustworthiness and controllability.

Simon Telen (CWI): New frontiers in numerical nonlinear algebra.
In general, solving nonlinear equations is about the fundamental problem of ‘finding the unknown X in complicated mathematical expressions’. It has many applications in other sciences, like robotics, chemistry, computer vision, economics and particle physics. X could, for instance, represent a configuration of a robot, or the equilibrium concentration in a chemical reaction. It may also correspond to the long-term proportions of susceptible, infected and recovered individuals in a pandemic, or to the best choice of item prizes to maximize profit. In this Veni research project, Telen will work on developing anew theory and algorithmic tools for equation solving that will be tested on large problems from applications.