Finale Doshi-Velez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Na Li, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics at SEAS, have been selected by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to receive Young Investigator Awards.

They are among 58 scientists and engineers who will receive a total of $20.8 million in grants through the Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).

Doshi-Velez’s work aims to turn data into actionable knowledge with a focus on core machine learning and healthcare. Her AFOSR YIP project aims to more completely characterize uncertainty in popular models such as non-negative matrix factorization, which are often used for interpreting data.

Li pursues a broad range of research interests that lie in the design, analysis and control of multi-agent systems with applications in power and energy systems, systems biology, and physiology. Her AFOSR YIP project aims to formally advance the systematic design of distributed coordination in multi-agent networked systems and to investigate the fundamental performance limits placed by the various constraints such as local connectivity, imperfect communication, and time-varying, uncertain environments.

Doshi-Velez received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT, an M.Sc. in Engineering from Cambridge University, and B.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Physics from MIT. Prior to joining SEAS, she was postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School as part of the National Science Foundation’s program on Transformative Computational Science using CyberInfrastructure.  She was a Marshall Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge from 2007-2009, and was named one of IEEE's "AI Top 10 to Watch" in 2013.

Li received a Ph.D. in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Zhejiang University. Prior to joining Harvard, she did one year of postdoctoral research at MIT’s Laboratory of Information and Decision Systems. She was previously selected to receive a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation.

The YIP is open to scientists and engineers across the United States who have received a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the last five years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.

The objective of the program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering.