Carnegie Mellon Honors Three Faculty With Professorships

Abby SimmonsFriday, November 17, 2023

CMU recently recognized Alex John London, Hoda Heidari and Brad Myers in honor of their endowed professorships. They're shown here seated in front of Dietrich College Dean Richard Scheines, SCS Dean Martial Hebert and CMU Provost James Garrett.

Carnegie Mellon University recently recognized three distinguished faculty members — including two from the School of Computer Science (SCS) — in honor of their endowed professorships. Hoda Heidari and Brad Myers received their professorships during a Nov. 1 ceremony along with Alex John London from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Heidari has been named the K&L Gates Career Development Professor of Ethics and Computational Technologies, while London has been named the K&L Gates Professor of Ethics and Computational Technologies. Myers was named the Charles M. Geschke (SCS 1973) Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII).

Global law firm K&L Gates LLP made a $10 million gift to CMU in 2016 that established the K&L Gates Endowment for Ethics and Computational Technologies. The professorships are part of a series of efforts initiated by K&L Gates to increase research, education and public awareness of the ethical and policy issues that may arise from advances in computational technologies such as artificial intelligence. With London and Heidari's leadership, the CMU initiative is taking a broad, systemic view of how ethical issues can arise at numerous stages, including before, during or after AI system design and development.

Charles and Nancy Geschke established a fund at CMU in 2011 to support the director of the HCII, which Myers became earlier this year.

Hoda Heidari

Heidari is a faculty member in the Machine Learning Department and the Software and Societal Systems Department (S3D). She is also affiliated with the HCII, CyLab, the Block Center for Technology and Society, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy and Technology.

Heidari's research broadly concerns the social, ethical and economic implications of artificial intelligence, and in particular, issues of fairness and accountability through the use of machine learning in socially consequential domains. Her work in this area has won a best paper award at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency; an exemplary track award at the ACM Conference on Economics and Computation; and a best paper award at the IEEE Conference on Secure and Trustworthy Machine Learning .

Heidari co-founded and co-leads the university-wide Responsible AI Initiative. She has organized several scholarly events on topics related to responsible and trustworthy AI, including multiple tutorials and workshops at top-tier academic venues specializing in artificial intelligence. 

She is particularly interested in translating research contributions into positive impact on AI policy and practice. She has organized multiple campus-wide events and policy convenings, bringing together diverse groups of experts to address such topics as AI governance and accountability and contribute to ongoing efforts in this area at various levels of government. 

Alex John London

London is an internationally recognized ethicist from the Department of Philosophy who is frequently called upon to address critical societal problems. He brings deep disciplinary expertise to bear and collaborates with the best technical and scientific minds to make an impact on policy, technology, medicine and science.

London joined CMU in 2000 and in 2016 was named the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy. He is the director of the Center for Ethics and Policy and chief ethicist at the Block Center. An elected fellow of the Hastings Center, London's work focuses on ethical and policy issues surrounding the development and deployment of novel technologies in medicine, biotechnology and artificial intelligence; on methodological issues in theoretical and practical ethics; and on cross-national issues of justice and fairness.

In 2022, Oxford University Press published his book, "For the Common Good: Philosophical Foundations of Research Ethics." It has been called a "philosophical tour de force," a "remarkable achievement" and a "vital foundation on which policy progress should — indeed, must be built." He also is co-editor of "Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine," one of the most widely used textbooks in medical ethics.

London is a member of the World Health Organization Expert Group on Ethics and Governance of AI. In addition, he is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine Committee on Creating a Framework for Emerging Science, Technology, and Innovation in Health and Medicine. He also co-leads the ethics core for the National Science Foundation AI Institute for Collaborative Assistance and Responsive Interaction for Networked Groups.

For more than a decade, London has helped to shape key ethical guidelines for the oversight of research with human participants. He is a member of the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and has served as an ethics expert in consultations with organizations including the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the World Medical Association and the World Bank.

Brad A. Myers

Myers is director of the HCII in SCS with an affiliated appointment in S3D. He received the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award in Research in 2017 for outstanding fundamental and influential research contributions to the study of human-computer interaction, and in 2022 SCS honored him with its Alan J. Perlis Award for Imagination in Computer Science "for pioneering human-centered methods to democratize programming." He is an IEEE fellow, ACM fellow, member of the CHI Academy, and winner of numerous best paper awards and most influential paper awards.

Myers has authored or edited more than 550 publications, and he has been on the editorial board of six journals. He has been a consultant on user interface design and implementation to over 90 companies and regularly teaches courses on user interface design and software. Myers received a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Toronto, where he developed the Peridot user interface tool. He earned master's and bachelor's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and belongs to the ACM, SIGCHI, IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society.

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