Professor Anthony Chen Awarded NSF CRII Grant

Professor Xiang “Anthony” Chen has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s CISE Research Initiation Initiative Grant (NSF CRII) totaling $175,000. He is a recently appointed Assistant Professor for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

The NSF CRII is awarded to new professors with the goal of initiating and encouraging independent research. The grant was awarded to Professor Chen for his research titled “Techniques for Helping Domain Experts Understand and Improve Models Underlying Intelligent Systems.”

Professor Chen’s research aims to make computer systems more understandable and intuitive to professionals without a computational background. Many computing models have mechanisms that are oftentimes unintelligible to users untrained in computer science, which makes it important for users to use and improve those models. Professor Chen’s research would help users interact with these models using their specific area of expertise, rather than the underlying algorithms. This would increase the efficacy and transparency of artificial intelligence and intelligent systems that people interact with every day.

In the long-term, this research would computationally create visualizations of how intelligent systems operate to workers without a computer science background. This will be accomplished with three research tracks. First, literature analysis on intelligent systems and computer science education would summarize the design criteria for visualizing intelligent systems. Second, empirical data on the use and integration of these systems in the medical domain will be collected. This is important to analyze how health professionals interact with data and make sense of the computational models they use. Third, using data from the first two tracks, computational methods to illustrate these systems will be developed. This will also allow for controls for users to intuitively interact with the model.

Professor Chen’s research represent an exciting step in cyber-human systems. To learn more about Professor Chen’s past and present research, visit