Krzysztof Gajos named 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow

Award recognizes computer scientist's "research accomplishments, creativity, and potential"

February 15, 2013

Cambridge, Mass. – February 15, 2013 – Krzysztof Gajos, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been named a 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

He is among 126 Fellows, including four others at Harvard, selected from the United States and Canada this year on the basis of their "independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become leaders in the scientific community through their contributions to their field."

The $50,000 award will support Gajos' research in the fields of human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and applied machine learning.

As director of the Intelligent Interactive Systems Group at SEAS, Gajos is conducting research on intelligent technology that improves the way humans interact with computational systems—for example, through personalized tools that adapt to a user's accessibility needs or preferences. Other areas of interest include creativity support tools,interactive machine learning, methodologies for conducting large-scale experiments with online volunteers, and crowdsourcing.

One of his group's current projects, called Lab in the Wild, studies how the geography of one's upbringing can affect the perception and processing of information. The researchers are administering an ongoing series of voluntary tests designed to elicit information about the various users’ “online culture.” That information could later be used in the design of personalized user interfaces.

Another project that engages members of the public suggests, "Click on a few dots, and our program will guess your age!" The game gathers information about how users of different ages physically interact with visual information.

Gajos' projects also have an international impact. In 2011, with researcher Lahiru Jayatilaka and others, Gajos co-developed a smartphone app that couples with a metal detector to improve the efficiency of landmine detection. The system, known as PETALS, is currently being tested in Cambodia.

Also in 2011, Gajos and two undergraduate students developed a nutrition app called PlateMate that lets users upload a photo of a meal and have an international "crowd" analyze its nutritional content. The project served as an exercise in breaking a complex question down to its computational components and solving the problems that arise between the human/cultural aspects and the actual software.

The author of approximately 50 publications, Gajos has been a member of the Harvard faculty since July 2009.

The other 2013 Sloan Fellows at Harvard are Joshua Buckholtz (Neuroscience), David T. Johnston (Ocean Sciences), Sarah C. Koch (Math), and Xi Yin (Physics).

Previous Sloan Fellows at SEAS have included Vinothan Manoharan (2011), Marko Loncar (2010), Todd Zickler (2008), and Maurice Smith (2007).