"Learning and Planning Under Uncertainty for Wildlife Conservation" - Lily Xu, Harvard University

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Virtual (Zoom)

Lily Xu, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University, will deliver a talk as part of CSRAI's Young Achievers Symposium.

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"Learning and Planning Under Uncertainty for Wildlife Conservation"

Wildlife poaching fuels the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade and pushes countless species to the brink of extinction. To aid rangers in preventing poaching in protected areas around the world, we have developed PAWS, the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security. We present technical advances in multi-armed bandits and robust sequential decision-making using reinforcement learning, with research questions that emerged from on-the-ground challenges. We also discuss bridging the gap between research and practice, presenting results from field deployment in Cambodia and large-scale deployment through integration with SMART, the leading software system for protected area management used by over 1,000 wildlife parks worldwide.

About the Speaker

Lily Xu is a Ph.D. student at Harvard  where she is developing AI techniques to address environmental planning challenges. She has focused on advancing methods in machine learning and game theory for wildlife conservation through preventing wildlife poaching. Xu co-organizes the Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) research initiative, and her research has been recognized with the best paper runner-up at AAAI, the INFORMS Doing Good with Good OR award, and a Google Ph.D. Fellowship.

About the Young Achievers Symposium

The Young Achievers Symposium highlights early career researchers in diverse fields of AI for social impact. The symposium series seeks to focus on emerging research, stimulate discussions, and initiate collaborations that can advance research in artificial intelligence for societal benefit. All events in the series are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Penn State students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty with an interest in socially responsible AI applications are encouraged to attend.