Carnegie Mellon University

Portrait of Fei Fang

May 17, 2021

Fei Fang Honored With Endowed Professorship

By Aaron Aupperlee

School of Computer Science assistant professors Henny Admoni and Fei Fang were among eight faculty members across Carnegie Mellon University who recently received Career Development Chairs to support their continued research and teaching.

SCS Dean Martial Hebert said that while Admoni and Fang focus on different research areas, they both share a passion for scholarly research with real-world impact.

Admoni was named the A. Nico Habermann Assistant Professor in the Robotics Institute. She joined CMU in 2017 and leads the Human and Robot Partners Lab, where she studies human-robot interaction and works on designing models of human mental states, like intentions, so robots can better understand them. If robots can better understand humans, they can work with and assist them more effectively in fields like health care and home robotics.

"My work is about making the science fiction dream of your favorite robot a reality," Admoni said, adding that this only applies if the favorite robot is a helpful one. "The key factor to my research is that we can build better human-robot interaction by studying the human in the equation."

The A. Nico Habermann Professorship in Computer Science was established in memory of Nico Habermann, a professor, first director of the Software Engineering Institute, and founding dean of the School of Computer Science. Habermann died in 1993.

Fang was named the Leonardo Assistant Professor in the Institute for Software Research. She joined the CMU faculty in 2017, and studies the integration of machine learning with game theory to tackle real-world problems in artificial intelligence. Her work has been used by the U.S. Coast Guard to protect the Staten Island Ferry and led to the development of the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS), a tool that assists with antipoaching efforts.

"My work looks at how AI techniques can be leveraged for societal good in areas like security, sustainability and food insecurity," Fang said.

CMU President Farnam Jahanian said the professorships are tributes to the outstanding faculty members who make the university an exciting place to create, innovate and push the envelope. They also underscore the importance of philanthropy in educating and changing the world.

"The talent of our faculty is truly the lifeblood of our university," Jahanian said.