By Patricia Waldron
It’s time for end-of-the-year “best of” lists, and two faculty members affiliated with the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science made this year’s list for Forbes 30 under 30: Science.
Allison Koenecke, assistant professor of information science, and Nikhil Garg, assistant professor at ORIE and the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, and a field member in computer science and information science, both made the cut.
Forbes selected Koenecke for her research on fairness in algorithmic systems. Her work has uncovered racial disparities in speech recognition systems – such as the kind used in virtual assistants – showing that despite recent advances, the technology still underperforms for Black users. Additionally, in an analysis of online ads promoting California's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Koenecke showed that disparities in ad targeting algorithms resulted in fewer Spanish speakers signing up.
Nikhil Garg made the list for his work on designing more equitable economic and social systems. He uses algorithms, machine learning, and data science to better understand a range of issues, including gerrymandering, surge pricing in ride-hailing, and polarization on Twitter. Garg’s recent research studies and addresses disparities in crowdsourcing and government service allocation, including in New York City and Chicago.
Koenecke and Garg are also friends and co-authors, having worked together on a paper studying how people make errors when interpreting images.
Patricia Waldron is a writer for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.