MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology have selected five new researchers for 2023-2024. This initiative, now in its third year, highlights ways industry and research can collaborate to drive technological innovation.
Through its partnership with the School of Engineering, Accenture offers five annual fellowships awarded to graduate students with the goal of generating powerful new knowledge on the convergence of business and technology with the potential to transform society. The 2023-2024 fellows will conduct research in areas such as artificial intelligence, sustainability and robotics.
The 2023-24 Accenture Fellows are:
Yiyue Luo is a PhD student developing innovative integrations of touch and haptic sensing, interactive sensing and AI, digital manufacturing, and smart wearables. His work leverages recent advances in digital manufacturing and AI, as well as the convergence of advanced sensing and actuation mechanisms, scalable digital manufacturing, and emerging computational techniques, with the goal of creating new sensing and actuation devices that revolutionize interactions between people and their environment. . In previous projects, Luo developed touch-sensing clothing, including socks, gloves and vests, as well as a workflow for computational design and digital manufacturing of pneumatic actuators based on soft textiles. With support from an Accenture grant, she will advance her work to combine sensing and actuation devices and explore the development of haptic devices that simulate tactile signals captured by touch sensors. Its ultimate goal is to create a scalable, textile-based, closed-loop human-machine interface. Luo’s research holds exciting potential to advance breakthrough applications in smart textiles, healthcare, artificial and virtual reality, human-machine interaction, and robotics.
Zanele Munyikwa is a doctoral student whose research explores core models, a class of models that form the basis of general-purpose transformative technologies (GPTs) such as GPT4. An Accenture Fellowship will enable Munyikwa to conduct research aimed at illuminating the current and potential impact of core models (including broad language models) on work and tasks common to “highly skilled” knowledge workers in sectors such as as marketing, legal services and medicine. , in which foundation models are expected to have significant economic and social impacts. One of the main goals of his project is to observe the impact of AI augmentation on tasks such as writing and long-form writing. A second objective is to explore two main ways in which the core models drive the convergence of the creative and technology industries, namely: reducing the cost of content generation and enabling the development of tools and platforms for education and Training. Munyikwa’s work has important implications for the use of foundation models in many fields, from health care and education to legal services, business and technology.
Michelle Vaccaro is a doctoral student in social engineering systems whose research explores human-AI collaboration with the aim of developing a deeper understanding of AI-based technologies (including ChatGPT and DALL-E), evaluating their performance and evolution and to direct their development towards societal benefit. applications, such as climate change mitigation. An Accenture fellowship will support Vaccaro’s current work toward two key goals: identifying synergies between humans and AI-based software to help design human-AI systems that solve persistent problems better than existing approaches; and investigate applications of human-AI collaboration to predict technological change, particularly for renewable energy technologies. By integrating the historically distinct fields of AI, systems engineering, and cognitive science with a broad range of industries, technical fields, and social applications, Vaccaro’s work has the potential to advance productivity and individual and collective creativity in all these areas.
Chonghuan Wang is a doctoral student in computer science and engineering whose research uses statistical learning, econometric theory, and experimental design to create effective, reliable, and sustainable field experiments in various fields. In his current work, Wang applies statistical learning techniques such as online learning and bandit theory to test the effectiveness of new treatments, vaccines and healthcare interventions. With support from an Accenture grant, he will design experiments with the specific goal of understanding the trade-off between the loss of a patient’s well-being and the accuracy of estimating treatment effect. The results of this research could help save lives and contain outbreaks during pandemics like Covid-19. The benefits of improved experimental design and high-quality data collection extend far beyond health care; for example, these tools could help businesses optimize user engagement, test price impact, and increase usage of platforms and services. Wang’s research holds exciting potential to harness statistical learning, econometric theory, and experimental design for the benefit of strong businesses and the common good.
Aaron Michael West Jr. is a doctoral student whose research aims to improve our knowledge of human motor control and robotics. His work aims to advance rehabilitation technologies and prosthetics, as well as improve the dexterity of robots. His previous work provided valuable insights into the human ability to extract information solely from visual displays. Specifically, he demonstrated the ability of humans to estimate stiffness based solely on visual observation of movement. This knowledge could advance the development of software applications with the same capabilities (e.g., using machine learning methods applied to video data) and allow roboticists to develop improved motion control such that the intention of a robot is perceptible to humans. An Accenture grant will allow West to continue this work, as well as further research into the functionality of the human hand to facilitate the design of a prosthetic hand that better replicates human dexterity. By advancing the understanding of human biomechanics and neuromechanics, West’s work has the potential to support major advances in robotics and rehabilitation technologies, with profound impacts on human health and well-being.