Google Research India: A Peek at Research Activities in Fundamental and Applied CS Research


Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 12:00pm


Pierce Hall 209

Google Research India: A Peek at Research Activities in Fundamental and Applied CS Research 

Our mission at Google Research India is to contribute to fundamental advances in AI and also apply our research to tackle big problems and deliver impact for Google, India and the world at large at massive scale. Some of  the fundamental problems in machine learning (ML) we are investigating include a better understanding of the limitations of deep learning systems and improving their robustness. We describe plans to conduct research at the intersection of software engineering, programming languages, and ML to make software systems built using ML methodology more robust, secure, and fair. We describe Google products like GPay and Assistant, which are being used by tens of millions of users in India, and plans to apply ML in areas like natural language  understanding and social networks to improve both the unique challenges in the Indian context (e.g., code mixing, diversity of languages, dialects and accents) as well as their overall capabilities (e.g.,improving the ability of the Assistant to handle conversations that require a combination of knowledge, reasoning and personalization, and improving fraud detection in GPay). We describe a critical need and an opportunity to improve health outcomes globally at lower costs, and specific challenges in countries like India of an acute shortage of doctors.We describe a convolutional neural network based solution developed by our researchers for more effective screening of diabetic retinopathy, which has achieved results at par with retinal specialists and is being deployed at hospitals in India. Finally, we describe our AI for Social Good program through which we are addressing issues like public health, education and wildlife conservation, in partnership with NGOs. 

1. Milind Tambe: Milind Tambe is Director "AI for Social Good" at Google Research India; concurrently, he is also Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and Director of Center for Research in Computation and Society at Harvard University. Dr. Tambe's research focuses on advancing AI and multiagent systems research for Social Good. He is recipient of the IJCAI (International Joint Conference on AI) John McCarthy Award, ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award from AAMAS (Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems Conference), AAAI (Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) Robert S Engelmore Memorial Lecture award, INFORMS Wagner prize, the Rist Prize of the Military Operations Research Society, the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland security award, International Foundation for Agents and Multiagent Systems influential paper award; he is a fellow of AAAI and ACM. He has also received meritorious Team Commendation from the US Coast Guard and LA Airport Police, and Certificate of Appreciation from US Federal Air Marshals Service for pioneering real-world deployments of security games. Prof. Tambe received his Ph.D. from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

2. Gaurav Aggarwal: I am a research scientist at Google. My interest lies in machine learning and computer vision. Before Google, I worked at Ola Cabs, a ride-hailing company in India, as the head of data science. Earlier, I founded a technology start-up Fashiate that was acquired by Snapdeal, an e-commerce marketplace. I have also worked as a senior research scientist at Yahoo Labs and as an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame. I did my Btech in Computer Science from IIT Madras and PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park.

3. Divy Thakkar: Divy is a Program Manager in Google Research, leading Academic Relations and Education Programs for India. His research is in the area of Human Computer Interaction, especially in the context of Development, and he has published at top-tier venues such as CHI.