The Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering has named Assistant Professor of Information and Library Science Kahyun Choi, Associate Professor of Intelligent Systems Engineering Paul Macklin, and Associate Professor of Informatics Justin Wood as Luddy Faculty Fellows.
The Luddy Faculty Fellows program, funded as part of a transformative, $60 million gift from Fred Luddy in 2019, is designed to support excellence in research that is—or promises to be—important, imaginative, or timely. Choi’s research focuses on the intersection of technology, humans, and music, while Macklin develops open-source computational tools that model multicellular systems biology. Wood creates high-precision methods for studying newborn animals, specifically, the origins of their core cognitive abilities. He then uses those benchmarks to build autonomous models that can create artificial brains that learn in the same way as newborns.
“Our faculty are known for pursuing innovative research that changes our understanding of what is possible,” said Dennis Groth, interim dean of the Luddy School. “Our Luddy Faculty Fellows are uniquely positioned to be leaders in the next generation of technological improvements that will change our world, and Kahyun, Paul, and Justin embody the kind of work that is the foundation of the Luddy Faculty Fellows program.”
Choi earned her Ph.D. in library and information science from the University of Illinois in 2018, and she joined the faculty at the Luddy School in January 2019. Her research uses AI models to understand multiple layers of meaning hidden in poems. She recently was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop an artificial intelligence literacy program for youth in underserved communities.
“I’m truly honored to receive the Luddy Faculty Fellowship and would like to thank Fred Luddy for funding this fellowship to foster AI research in our school,” Choi said. “As a junior faculty, such recognition and encouragement mean a lot to me. I hope to contribute to increasing the diversity and capacity of our school's AI research.”
Macklin holds a B.A. in mathematics and German from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an M.S. in industrial and applied mathematics from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in computational and applied mathematics from the University of California-Irvine. He’s the director of the Math Cancer Lab, which develops data-driven computational systems that help engineer the behavior of multicellular systems, including in cancer and human tissue. His PhysiCell simulation software helps create patient-calibrated mathematical models that help improve clinical care. He joined the Luddy faculty in 2017.
“The fellowship provides me the support and freedom to step out of my comfort zone and take risks on something new,” Macklin said. “It will allow my group to test the feasibility of some key technologies for cancer patient digital twins. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
Wood earned his B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard. He is director of The Wood Lab, which links psychology to artificial intelligence with the aim of reverse-engineering the origins of intelligence. The goal of the research is to build end-to-end artificial agents that mimic cognitive development in newborns. Wood joined the Luddy faculty in 2019.
"I’m honored to receive this fellowship,” Wood said. “I work with an amazing team of students and researchers at IU. Together, we’re building bridges between psychology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence to develop an engineering-level understanding of the origins of intelligence. I'm grateful to the Luddy School both for its support and for providing a world-class intellectual environment to address core questions across science and technology.”