My two main interests are artificial intelligence & machine learning, and human development:

  1. Artificial Intelligence
  2. Human Development

Artificial Intelligence

Research

Multi-Agent Systems

Most of the research that I’ve done falls under the umbrella of Multi-Agent Systems. These are systems that contain multiple intelligent agents that interact with one another. Consider, for example, an online marketplace where many people are trying to purchase something in an auction format. Clearly, these people are interacting with the auctioneer, and less obviously with each other—by the fact that they’re competing to get the highest bid while staying within their price range. It isn’t difficult to extend this marketplace analogy to one containing artificially intelligent agents, negotiating on behalf of human buyers. In fact, stock markets have many such agents.

The research that I’ve done with these systems centers around the emergence of norms within multi-agent societies. That is, I examine what will happen when agents, all trying to maximize their own utility function, interact with each other; what kind of network topologies and interconnections between agents result? Furthermore, I ask the question of how to design a system so that a desirable stable network results from agents who behave rationally, which is also known as mechanism design.

Publications

  • Beckemeyer, N., Macke, W. and Sen, S., 2017, May. Stable Configurations with (Meta) Punishing Agents. In International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (pp. 17-30). Springer, Cham.

    This paper examined the relationship between starting parameters and end topologies in agent networks that use Axelrod’s metanorm model. The paper can be found here.

Coursework

The following courses pertain most directly to my studies and interests in AI & ML (with bolded courses taken at a graduate level:

  • Artificial Intelligence, an introduction to AI. The coding for the first four projects was done entirely in Lisp. I learned about a huge number of problems, such alpha-beta pruning for the minimax algorithm, constraint satisfaction problems (DFS, forward-checking, and arc consistency, for example), decision tree generation, and declarative programming as theorem-proving, such as using the CLIPS language (for building expert systems) to implement a small game. Here is the corresponding GitHub repository.

  • Advanced Artificial Intelligence, which covered a variety of topics including Markov Decision Problems, Q-Learning, planning, Dynamic Bayesian Networks, and N-gram analyses. The matching GitHub repository is here.

  • Social Media Analysis, a course on analyzing social network graphs and interactions. We pulled tweets and reddit comments containing information related to the 2016 presidential election, which we analyzed to conclude that, the more partisan you are, the more you are liked on social media.

  • Machine Learning, a course on the basics of machine learning. The course covered a variety of machine learning topics, including reinforcement learning, unsupervised clustering, support vector machines, and some deep learning material. The corresponding Github repository can be found here.

Human Development

Human development is a driving motivator for me to study the things that I do. Broadly, it refers to raising living standards for all people to increase health and happiness.

Extracurriculars

The following out-of-class activities have contributed most greatly to my desire to aid with human development:

  • Global Scholars, an interdisciplanry honors program at the University of Tulsa. Most of the following coursework (and a scholarship for study abroad) came as a result of this program. Through this program I have had the ability to meet many people from all over the world working to improve it, from networking with ex-UN employees to meeting academics authoring best-sellers on the future of China.

  • Studying abroad in Shanghai, China. I studied at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in the fall of 2017. Living in a country for three months with a culture very different from my own was an enlightening experience, and lent me perspective on not just China, but also on my home of the United States.

Coursework

The following courses pertain most directly to my studies and interests in human development:

  • Global Challenges, a course that discussed the upcoming challenges that the world faces in seven areas: Population, Resource Management, Technology, Information and Knowledge, Economics, Security, and Governance. We studied how these areas will challenge an increasingly globalized world, and what students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds can do to engage them.

  • Sustainability and Urban Development, a course that took place in Berlin, Hamburg, and Budapest to study modern sustainability and urban development practices. We examined many aspects related to sustainability, such as recycling, the need to balance human and enviromental suitability, ways to manage city expansion, and the implementation of renewable energy.