AAAI Best Demo Award

PosterThe paper titled  "Expressive and Flexible Simulation of Information Spread Strategies in Social Networks Using Planning," by Bharath Muppasani, Vignesh Narayanan, Biplav Srivastava, Michael N. Huhns, has been selected for the Best Demo Award at AAAI-24. AAAI is a top AI conference and was held over the past week.

The work enables detailed simulations of opinion evolution and strategic interventions using planning. Designed to enhance human-AI collaboration, the framework supports the creation of strategies that facilitate a deeper understanding and informed engagement with the opinion evolution in networks. It was selected from 30 demos, which themselves were selected from a pool of 97 submissions. You can read the poster and watch the video presentation.

Recent Publications: Natural Language Processiong

The following papers written by our AI Institute members were accepted for presentation at the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing:

  • Counter Turing Test (CT^2): AI-Generated Text Detection is Not as Easy as You May Think - Introducing AI Detectability Index (ADI). Megha Chakraborty, S.M Towhidul Islam Tonmoy, S M Mehedi Zaman, Shreya Gautam, Tanay Kumar, Krish Sharma, Niyar R Barman, Chandan Gupta, Vinija Jain, Aman Chadha, Amit P. ShethAmitava Das.
  • The Troubling Emergence of Hallucination in Large Language Models - An Extensive Definition, Quantification, and Prescriptive Remediations. Vipula Rawte, Swagata Chakroborty, Agnibh Pathak, Anubhav Sarkar, S.M Towhidul Islam Tonmoy, Aman Chadha, Amit P. Sheth, Amitava Das.
  • FACTIFY3M: A benchmark for multimodal fact verification with explainability through 5W Question-Answering. Megha Chakraborty, Khushbu Pahwa, Anku Rani, Shreyas Chatterjee, Dwip Dalal, Harshit Dave, Ritvik G, Preethi Gurumurthy, Adarsh Ashok Mahor, Samahriti Mukherjee, Aditya Pakala, Ishan Paul, Janvita Reddy, Arghya Sarkar, Kinjal Sensharma, Aman Chadha, Amit P. Sheth, Amitava Das.

The acceptance of these papers at EMNLP, a leading conference in NLP, is a testament to the high quality of research being conducted at the AI Institute. The papers address important and challenging problems in NLP, and their findings have the potential to significantly advance the state of the art in this field.

USC awarded NSF MRI grant to acquire HPC cluster for AI-for-science research and education in South Carolina

The University of South Carolina was just awarded $1.1M with a National Science Foundation MRI grant to purchase a High-Performance Computing cluster (HPC) for boosting AI enabled science, engineering, and education in South Carolina. This grant will be led by the PI Prof. Ming Hu (Mechanical engineering), two Computer Science Co-PIs (Prof. Jianjun Hu and Prof. Forest Agostinelli) and additional two Co-PIs (Prof. Sophya Garashchuk of chemistry, and Sagona, Paul of Div. IT).

The new HPC instrument (with both new GPU and CPU servers) will be hosted at USC but will be made accessible to students of more than 10 regional universities such as Claflin University, Furman University, Francis Marion University, Costal Carolina University, College of Charleston, Charleston Southern University, Winthrop University, Presbyterian College, Benedict College, USC Beaufort and etc. It will promote research in diverse fields such as materials science, physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, bioinformatics, health science and humanities, all enhanced by the HPC, big data and AI tools. The project team will also organize training workshops for AI-enabled scientific research and engineering innovation, education programs for undergraduate students, and summer camps for high school students in the coming years. More information will be posted on the project website at

Dr. Hu Receives NSF Grant for Machine Learning in Materials Discovery

Prof. Jianjun Hu, director of the Machine Learning and Evolution Lab and his collaborators Prof Ming Hu (PI) from USC Mechanical engineering and Prof. Christopher Wolverton (Co-PI) of Northwestern University have just acquired a NSF grant on generating a modern phonon database and developing machine learning prediction, analysis, and visualization tools for data driven materials discovery, which will speed up research and design of novel thermoelectrics, superconductors, photovoltaics, superionic conductors.

Phonon Database Generation, Analysis, and Visualization for Data Driven Materials Discovery

Material databases and their related computing infrastructures have become the major cornerstone of current data driven and artificial intelligence (AI) based materials discovery. However, among the rich material properties of interest to the materials community, few databases have comprehensively included phonon properties, which are at the center of materials science and are related to diverse functionalities such as thermoelectrics, superconductors, photovoltaics, superionic conductors, etc. This project meets these urgent needs to generate a comprehensive phonon database along with analysis, visualization, navigation, and visualization tools, combined with multi-channel infrastructure-community communication and feedback. The phonon database will become an excellent complement to the currently widely used material databases. Developing such an infrastructure will be beneficial for all areas of materials science and engineering, accelerating the prediction, design, and synthesis of novel materials with various emerging applications in modern science and technology. The project will promote the engagement of underrepresented and minority students in research, equip engineering students with interdisciplinary expertise and frontier knowledge crucial to their future careers, and fulfill the mission to prepare a high-quality workforce for science, technology, and engineering. The project will also develop new course materials for undergraduate and graduate computational materials science courses.

CSE Faculty and Student Research Awards

We congratulate our faculty members that have received research awards. They are:

  • Dr. Christian O'Reilly for receiving funds from NIH-NIMH on the project titled "The Role of Autonomic Regulation of Attention in the Emergence of ASD"
  • Dr. Jason Bakos for receiving funds from NSF on the project titled "Collaborative Research: SHF: Small: Sub-millisecond Topological Feature Extractor for High-Rate Machine Learning"
  • Dr. Homayoun Valafar for receiving funds from Prisma Health-Upstate on the project titled "Analysis of Patient Glycomic Profiles in Search for Breast Cancer Signatures Using Machine Learning Approach"
  • Dr. Jianjun Hu for receiving funds from EPSCoR/IDeA/SC Commission on the project titled "GEAR CRP: Deep learning reinforced high-resolution semiconductor radiation detector for real- time medical imaging"
  • Dr. Micheal Huhns for receiving funds from University of Maryland/ARLIS/DOD on the project titled "Information Competition Simulator"
  • Mr. Lexington Wahlen for receiving a NASA South Carolina Space Grant Consortium STEM Outreach Award for the project titled "Wordification: A New Way of Teaching English Spelling Patterns"
  • Mr. Musa Azeem for receiving a NASA South Carolina Space Grant Consortium STEM Outreach Award for the project titled "Unobtrusive and User-Friendly Acquisition of Multi-sensor Data from Wearable Smartwatch Technology"

ChatGPT-like LLM-based-AIs Offer Both Opportunities and Risks for Society

ChatGPT has disrupted the narrative around AI and fired everyone’s imagination. Just like iPhone disrupted the market for mobile phones, Google did for search, Tesla did for cars, and Watson did for question-answering (with Jeopardy!), ChatGPT has people at every level of education spectrum trying it out for applications ranging from scientific articles to real-estate to law and business exams to programming, and much more. But technologies are not accepted by just its perfect performance but also a socio-technical ecosystem. For example, a car must drive properly but the legal, education, and standards framework allow a user to trust the enabling environment and confidently drive their vehicle on the roads. Similarly, conventional or new application domains alike, the adoption of chatbots were already hindered by the lack of a supportive socio-technical environment. With easy access of LLM-based tools like ChatGPT, the risk of harm will only increase unless other pillars are quickly built. To benefit society from the potential of LLM based technologies, the path forward is not to scuttle LLM-based tools but to increase investment and augment necessary other pillars for the technologies’ safe and trusted usage for the society.

Read the full article by Dr. Biplav Srivastava, or his online recording.

Undergraduate junior student Daniel Gleaves published his research on deep learning models for new materials discovery

Our computer science junior student Daniel Gleaves from Prof. Jianjun Hu’s group published his research of deep learning algorithms for materials research in Digital Discovery Journal from Royal Society of Chemistry. In this work, he applied semi-supervised deep graph neural networks for material synthesizability and stability prediction. His models can achieve significantly better performance compared to the existing state-of-the-art PU learning methods with the true positive rate increased from 87.9% to 92.9% using 1/49 model parameters. His models can be combined with deep learning based generative material design models from Dr. Hu’s group for large-scale screening of novel functional materials. The accepted manuscript “Materials synthesizability and stability prediction using Semi-supervised teacher-student dual neural network” can be downloaded from here. Daniel was a recipient of USC Magellan Scholarship. Dr. Hu’s machine learning and evolution laboratory (MLEG) has involved dozens of undergraduate students in their cutting-edge research on AI for science and deep learning for materials discovery, which has already led to four journal publications in leading materials science journals. Interested highly motivated students can contact Dr. Hu by email.

New materials discovered in this research

AIISC Event Posters and Photos

AIISC's 1st Retreat last Friday was hugely successful. Over 50 in attendance engaged in active discussions over 23 student posters representing a subset of the topics our ~40 researchers work on, attended the panel in which our collaborators shared their views on "AI in your research" and continued conversations over breakfast and lunch.

Please check out the posters and the photos of this vibrant event, and visit our LinkedIn page followed by over 8600 worldwide.

Accurate Human Silhouettes and Body Joints Estimation from Commodity 5G Millimeter-Wave Devices

The need for understanding and perceiving at-home human activities and biomarkers is critical in numerous applications, such as monitoring the behavior of elderly patients in assisted living conditions, detecting falls, tracking the progression of degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, or monitoring recovery of patients’ during post-surgery or post-stroke. Traditionally, optical cameras, IRs, LiDARs, etc., have been used to build such applications, but they depend on light or thermal energy radiating from the human body. So, they do not perform well in occlusion, low light, and dark conditions. More importantly, cameras impose a major privacy concern and are often undesirable for users to install inside their homes.

Now a team of researchers from the Systems Research on X laboratory at the University of South Carolina has designed a monitoring system, called MiShape, based on millimeter-wave (mmWave) wireless technology in 5G-and-beyond devices to track humans beyond-line-of-sight, see through obstructions, and monitor gait, posture, and sedentary behaviors. This system provides an advantage over camera-based solutions since it works even under no light conditions and preserves users’ privacy. By processing mmWave signals and combining them with custom-designed conditional Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) model, they demonstrated that MiShape generates high-resolution silhouettes and accurate poses of human body on par with existing vision-based systems. 

The findings are reported recently in the ACM Journal on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT) in a paper co-authored by UofSC graduate students, Aakriti Adhikari and Hem Regmi, and UofSC faculties of computer science and engineering department, Dr. Sanjib Sur and Dr. Srihari Nelakuditi. It was also recently presented at the highly selective international conference, ACM UbiComp 2022, by Aakriti Adhikari.

In their proposed approach, they first train a deep learning model based human silhouette generator model using mmWave reflection signals from a diverse set of volunteers performing different human poses, activities, etc., and then run the model to predict the silhouette of unknown subjects performing unknown poses, which are not part of the training process. The silhouette can then be used to generate a body skeleton, which can be tracked continuously, even under obstructions or low-light, for monitoring human activities automatically. Furthermore, the system can generalize to different subjects with little to no fine-tuning. 

This research is an example of an emerging paradigm called Sensing for Well-being. It enables ubiquitous sensing techniques so that devices and objects become “truly smart” by understanding and interpreting the ambient conditions and activities with high precision, without relying on traditional vision sensors. “Through experimental observations and deep learning models, we extract intelligence from wireless signals, which, in turn, enable ubiquitous sensing modalities for various human activities and silhouette generation,” says Prof. Sur. The authors are also collaborating with researchers from the Arnold School of Public Health and doctors from the School of Medicine to bring these technologies to practice. Another application of this work is in monitoring human sleep quality and postures with ubiquitous networking devices, such as next-generation wireless routers at home. “We can use mmWave wireless signals to automatically classify, recognize, and log information about sleep posture throughout the night, which can provide insights to medical professionals and individuals in improving sleep quality and preventing negative health outcomes,” Sur says.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, under the grants CNS-1910853, MRI-2018966, and CAREER-2144505, and by the UofSC ASPIRE II award.