UW News

November 24, 2020

Four UW faculty members named AAAS fellows for 2020

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named four University of Washington faculty members as AAAS Fellows, according to a Nov. 24 announcement from the organization. The four are part of a cohort of 489 new fellows for 2020, which were chosen by their peers for “their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

The four new AAAS fellows among the UW faculty are:

Pedro Domingos, professor emeritus in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, is honored for contributions to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Domingos is particularly known for his introduction of Markov logic networks, which presented a simple yet efficient approach to unifying first-order logic and probabilistic reasoning to support inference learning. He also helped pioneer the field of adversarial learning, producing the first algorithm to automate the process of adversarial classification to enable data mining systems to adapt rapidly against evolving adversarial attacks. Domingos subsequently contributed the first unsupervised approach to semantic parsing, which enables machines to extract knowledge from text and speech, a process that underpins machine learning and natural language processing. In 2015, he published “The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World,” a book that examines how machine learning increasingly influences every aspect of people’s lives. Domingos joined the UW faculty in 1999 and remains active in research after attaining emeritus status earlier this year.

Eberhard Fetz, professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, is a pioneer in brain-machine interfaces. His earlier work was on the brain’s direction of arm and leg movements. Fetz later showed that the brain could volitionally control certain nerve cells, called cortical neurons, in various patterns. This became the foundation for research on the unexpected ability of neural activity to drive external devices. Fetz also conducted studies of interneurons in the spine, and demonstrated that they had many properties of cells in the cortex, including their preparation to carry out instructed movements. Fetz also developed dynamic network models to simulate neural interactions that target tracking and short-term memory. In an historical achievement, his lab designed and tested an implantable neurochip that can record activity of cortical cells and convert this in real-time to stimulate the cortex, spinal cord or muscles. The brain can learn to incorporate this artificial feedback loop into behaviors. The neurochip holds future promise for clinical applications, such as moving paralyzed muscles.

Daniel Raftery is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, as well as a professor in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Raftery studies the small molecules at work during metabolism in cells, animals and people. He has developed analytical and statistical methods to profile metabolites in complex biological samples. Metabolites are the end products of many biochemical functions in living systems. Raftery’s research is working to discover sensitive biomarkers indicating the presence of disease and its progression. He has applied his advances in metabolomics to detect very early stages of cancer, as well as in his research on diabetes and heart disease. He is a scientist at the UW Mitochondrial and Metabolism Center, which, among its goals, is investigating the roles of cell metabolism dysfunction in common diseases and is also seeking related diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Raftery also directs the interdisciplinary Northwest Metabolomics Research Center, which fosters collaborations among scientists from several institutions. The lab uses some of the latest technologies and capabilities to improve the metabolic understanding of a variety of serious disorders.

Daniel Weld, a professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, was honored for his contributions to artificial intelligence spanning automated planning, software agents, crowdsourcing and internet information extraction, as well as his efforts to commercialize AI technologies. Weld leads the UW’s Lab for Human-AI Interaction, where he focuses on advancing explainable AI to allow people to better understand and control AI-powered tools, assistants and systems and combine human and machine intelligence to accomplish more together than alone. Weld has co-founded multiple startup companies, including Netbot, Inc., which produced the first online comparison shopping engine that was subsequently acquired by Excite, and AdRelevance, an early provider of tools for monitoring online advertising data acquired by Nielsen Netratings. A member of the UW faculty since 1988, Weld is a venture partner and member of the Technology Advisory Board of Madrona Venture Group and Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, where he also leads the Semantic Scholar research group focused on the development of AI-powered tools to help scientists extract useful knowledge from scholarly literature.

In addition, Deborah Donnell, a professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, was selected “for distinguished contributions to the field of HIV prevention research, particularly for design and analysis of clinical trials of pre-exposure prophylaxis and treatment as prevention.” Donnell is also a UW affiliate of global health and of health services.