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NMSU professor named among top emerging AI researchers

Date: 02/05/2016

Writer: Dana Beasley, 575-646-7853, danab@nmsu.edu

Original article from NMSU News Center

William Yeoh, a New Mexico State University assistant professor of computer science in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named to IEEE Intelligent Systems’ 2015 list of “AI’s 10 to Watch,” which acknowledges 10 outstanding researchers in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

The list features young scientists from all over the world, who have completed their doctoral work in the past five years and have made notable contributions to AI research. IEEE Intelligent Systems publishes the list every two years. Yeoh is featured in the magazine’s January-February 2016 issue.

“I am tremendously honored to be selected to be part of the 2015 cohort,” Yeoh said. “It is very humbling to be included together with all the other outstanding researchers.”

The 2015 list recognizes scientists from institutions such as the University of New South Wales, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, as well as Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Purdue universities.

“NMSU has a long history of internationally recognized research in the field of AI, and William is the newest star,” said Enrico Pontelli, an NMSU Regents Professor of computer science and interim associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Not only is his research work of the highest quality, but in just a short period he has contributed to reinvigorating the research atmosphere in the computer science department through his innovative ideas, his enthusiasm and his caring attitude toward students.”

The focus of Yeoh’s research at NMSU is on distributed constraint optimization (DCOP), which is used to model multiple “agents” in large, complex problems. Agents, Yeoh said, can range from humans, to hardware agents – like robots – and software agents, like the software in smart phones.

Yeoh’s group is currently investigating the use of this DCOP framework to represent certain smart grid-related problems.

The traditional power grid, Yeoh explained, is a complex system that delivers energy from a power plant to our homes and offices. The smart grid is the next-generation power grid, where two-way communication between the power producers and consumers is used to improve the overall efficiency and reliability of the grid.

“For example, through the use of smart meters, which capture a variety of power-related information, power producers can better estimate the amount of power that will be consumed in the future, which will lead to more optimized and sustainable power generation,” Yeoh said.

Yeoh’s work is part of a larger smart grid research center at NMSU, called iCREDITS, which Pontelli is co-director of. The center houses an interdisciplinary group of researchers to work collectively to advance the current state of smart grids.

“I am very fortunate to have a very good group of collaborators, both students and faculty members,” Yeoh said. “As such, I would like to thank and acknowledge all my research collaborators, especially those at NMSU. This recognition is as much, if not more, of a recognition of their effort as it is of mine.”

To view the IEEE Intelligent Systems article, visit http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=7389912. For more information about iCREDITS, visit http://icredits.nmsu.edu/.