Singh named SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Computer Science
Munindar P. Singh has been named the SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at NC State.
Singh, who joined the NC State faculty in 1995, was previously named an Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor in the Department of Computer Science. He conducts research into artificial intelligence (AI) and multiagent systems with the goal of advancing AI from individual agents to ensembles of socially intelligent agents, with the goals of realizing trustworthy AI-infused systems that reflect human needs. His recent research has involved models and techniques for flexible business processes, privacy and consent, social and legal norms and accountability, understanding social media, and the ethics and safety of AI broadly. Over the last few years, he has been leading and co-organizing interdisciplinary efforts on campus on the ethics and safety of AI-infused sociotechnical systems.
"Everyone recognizes that we must develop AI technologies so they serve individual and societal needs. But these needs are reflected in users' goals, risk attitudes, and values and the norms that guide their interactions, which traditional approaches can't handle at runtime. My students and I develop computational methods by which AI agents can incorporate those factors into their behaviors,” Singh said. "This research can enable new regulatory regimes to ensure that AI is used for good.”
Singh is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a foreign member of Academia Europaea. He has won the ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award, the IEEE TCSVC Research Innovation Award and the IFAAMAS Influential Paper Award. Within NC State, he has won the Outstanding Research Achievement Award and the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, and is a member of the Research Leadership Academy.
To date, Singh has authored or co-authored more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences, he has secured more than $20 million in external support for research, he has been awarded 45 patents, and he has directed and graduated 30 Ph.D. dissertations and 30 M.S. theses.
Singh has served as the editor-in-chief of both the ACM Transactions on Internet Technology and IEEE Internet Computing, and on the editorial boards of other leading journals in his area. He has also chaired major academic conferences, including the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems.
Singh’s research has been recognized with awards and sponsorship by (alphabetically) the Army Research Lab, the Army Research Office, Cisco Systems, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, DARPA, the Department of Defense, Ericsson, Facebook, IBM, Intel, the National Science Foundation, and Xerox.
The support of an endowed professorship – a position permanently paid for with the revenue from an endowment fund – is one of the best tools for recruiting and retaining great faculty members. The funds in these professorships provide salary support, research flexibility, program development, graduate assistant funds, equipment and course development. The department is grateful to the SAS Institute for its foresight and generosity in endowing this position years ago.
Asked about the significance of this award to Singh, Gregg Rothermel, head of the Department of Computer Science, said: “Munindar’s research has been among the most impactful in our department, and the many Ph.D. students he has mentored over the years have themselves made numerous contributions in academic and industrial settings. His leadership in the discipline, and within the department itself, has been deep and meaningful. I can think of no other faculty member in Computer Science who is more worthy of this professorship – and I can think of no other faculty member who can be so assuredly expected to leverage this professorship to advance science and computing, and along the way, to make NC State and SAS proud.”
SAS Institute, Inc., located in Cary, NC, established an endowment to fund the professorship in 2001. The company was founded in 1976 by NC State alumni Dr. James Goodnight and Dr. John Sall.
Goodnight and his wife, Ann, also an NC State graduate, support more than 250 North Carolina students each year through the Goodnight Scholarships program, which they established in 2008 and expanded in 2017 to include transfer students from the state’s community colleges. The Goodnights also have generously strengthened centers, programs and additional scholarship opportunities across NC State. Their commitment to faculty excellence has resulted in the creation of 28 named faculty positions, including a deanship, as well as a program to invest in early-career faculty and support for additional endowed professorship funds. In 2022, the Goodnights increased their support to include graduate students, creating the Goodnight Doctoral Fellowship for Ph.D. candidates in STEM and education.
Dr. Goodnight earned his B.S. in applied mathematics in 1965, his M.S. and doctorate in statistics in 1968 and 1972, respectively, and the University conferred an honorary degree to him in 2002. Ann Goodnight earned her B.A. in political science in 1968 and works as the senior director of community relations at SAS Institute.
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