This week it was announced that MIT professor Armando Solar-Lezama has received a prestigious NSF award for junior faculty, to go towards a new project that could impact scientific discovery in domains as diverse as organic chemistry, RNA splicing and cognitive science.
Solar-Lezama has received a $10 million NSF Expeditions in Computing grant for his work on demonstrating that the combination of deep learning and symbolic reasoning can lead to new learning techniques that can better incorporate prior knowledge and produce interpretable models. The goal is to show the applicability of these techniques to scientific discovery in a range of fields. The project is a collaboration with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, California Institute of Technology, Rice University, University of Texas at Austin, and Stanford University.
Armando led a team on this research that included MIT professors Regina Barzilay, Michael Carbin, Tommi Jaakkola, Martin Rinard, and Phillip Sharp. The full list can be found here: http://www.neurosymbolic.org/people.html
Expeditions projects constitute the largest individual research investments made by NSF's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), with each award providing up to $10 million over five years. Since the program's inception in 2007, CISE has funded 22 Expeditions projects. An NSF press release describes the projects as having “yielded transformative breakthroughs in computing and information technology, catalyzed partnerships with industry to bring these technologies to bear and given rise to entirely new sectors of the U.S. economy.”