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2023 AI and Tech Policy Summer Institute Opening Reception


2023 CAHMP Mini Seed Funding

Overview and Purpose

The purpose of this mini seed funding is to enable pilot research that will lead to submissions to externally funded research programs in the broad area of “human machine partnership.” We seek to identify and support interdisciplinary teams planning to pursue novel convergent research. The seed grant can support new or existing teams to perform activities, such as faculty effort, preliminary research, team building, and project scoping, that are necessary to enable the submission of a competitive larger proposal in the future. Funded projects should lead directly to an external proposal submission as a next step.

Investigator Specification

Proposals should come from teams of at least two investigators from at least two different departments or disciplines. CAHMP Affiliate members must collaborate with a Core member to submit an application. In addition to listing the investigators, proposals should identify additional faculty members, disciplines, or external partners, if applicable, that the team will engage during the seed grant period.

Activities Eligible for Support

The mini seed grants aim to support a range of planning activities intended to foster a convergent research team that can effectively integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives, explore the research theme in depth, build collaborations with relevant stakeholders, and hone specification of research gaps, questions, and hypotheses. Activities within scope include, but are not limited to, workshops, stakeholder meetings, literature reviews, data collection, preliminary experiments, prototypes, and pilots. In all cases, the proposed activities should be designed as a step along the path to a future external grant.

Budget Guidelines

Teams should propose a budget commensurate with the scope of their proposed activities and their intended next steps. The maximum allowable budget for a proposal is $20,000. The total requested amount, as well as the individual line items, should be clearly justified in the budget section of the proposal.

Eligible budget categories include faculty time (summer salary and/or AY course buyout), student assistantships and/or wages, travel (for team building), equipment, materials & supplies, and participant support costs. There is no need to budget indirect costs.

Funds will be transferred to the PI’s home department. Unspent funds must be transferred back to CAHMP within 45 days of the project’s end date. Project periods should end before June 30, 2024.

Proposal Content

Proposals should be no more than three (3) single-spaced pages (please use the template provided attached), using Times New Roman 12-point font. Proposals should address the following topics:

  • Definition of the research theme/area and motivation for its importance
  • History and current status of the research theme (literature/conceptual review)
  • Vision for development of the research theme
  • Qualifications of the interdisciplinary team
  • Specific external grant objective and target source
  • Timeline (projects should not extend past June 30, 2024.)
  • Budget and budget justification

Review Criteria

  • Strength and potential of the interdisciplinary team
  • Importance and potential of the research theme
  • Opportunity for the team to create a distinct and compelling research niche
  • Clarity and feasibility of the plan to achieve external funding
  • Overall potential return on investment
  • Relevance of the theme to the vision and interests of CAHMP and Mason

Submission Process

Email a PDF copy of your submission to Peng Warweg at by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

Proposals will be reviewed, and funding decisions will be made by the CAHMP leadership team and external advisors by no later than June 30, 2023 (earlier if possible).


2023 CAHMP Spring Mini-symposium


Please mark your calendar and come to join our 2023 spring mini-symposium next Wednesday (4/19) at 1-3pm. We have lined up four exciting talks by three new CAHMP members, Jonathan Auerbach, Erion Plaku, and Xiaokuan Zhang, as well as Matthew Steinberg, Director of EdPolicyForward here at Mason. Please check out their abstracts below. The symposium will end with a panel joined by all four speakers and moderated by CAHMP co-director, Sanmay Das.

Time: 4/19/23 Wednesday, 1-3pm

In-person Location: Research Hall 440A. Light refreshments will be served.

For online participants – Please contact Peng Warweg for joining information.


Speaker: Jonathan Auerbach, Assistant Professor, Department of Statistics, George Mason University 

Topic: Computer-Assisted Selection of Board Members to Improve Equity and Inclusion 

Abstract: From local governments to international corporations, there has been increased demand for diverse governing boards. In many cases, the number of members who identify as women and people of color have increased substantially. But diverse membership does not automatically mean inclusive or equitable participation. Members can be excluded from the conversation by procedures that favor the majority group or behaviors such as interruptions, bullying, and discriminatory harassment. 

In this presentation, we propose a methodology that models the interactions among board members. The model can be used to assess barriers to participation among current members and select new members to promote inclusion and equity. We demonstrate the proposed approach using more than twenty-four hours of video footage from meetings of Manhattan’s Community Boards in addition to an extensive follow-up survey. We find a large gap between nominal representation on boards and actual representation in terms of participation in activities (e.g., speaking time at meetings). We then show how a more thoughtful selection of board members can greatly reduce this gap. 

This is joint work with Catherine DeLazzero and Ashley Maria Garcia-Parra (Columbia University) and Eric Auerbach and Sidonia McKenzie (Northwestern University). 


Speaker: Erion Plaku, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, George Mason University 

Topic: Toward Supervised Autonomy: Enhancing Automation and Human-Robot Collaboration 

Abstract: Advances in AI and robotics are giving rise to systems that can see, hear, communicate, act, and learn, seeking to extend and enhance every aspect of human life.  This progress has been driven by the pursuit of fundamental questions that continue to drive much of our research: how do you enhance the autonomy and capability of robots to work alongside and collaborate with humans? Toward this goal, my group’s research brings together concepts from AI, robot motion planning, and logic, to develop planning frameworks that enable human supervisors to describe tasks in high-level structured languages and have the framework automatically plan actions and motions for robots to safely and effectively complete assigned tasks.  This line of research has the potential to establish a novel paradigm for supervised autonomy that increases productivity and capabilities. Applications in marine robotics will be highlighted. Finally, I will discuss emerging challenges and opportunities, as well as share my vision of the way forward. 


Speaker: Xiaokuan Zhang, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, George Mason University 

Topic: Security and Privacy Concerns in Computer Systems: Exploring the Human Connection 

Abstract: Computer systems have been rapidly evolving over the past several decades, with the emergence of new technologies such as smartphones and blockchains transforming the way humans interact with these systems. Since computer systems often need to process, transmit and store sensitive user data, it is crucial to ensure the security and privacy of such systems. However, these challenges are not solely technical, but are also impacted by human factors. This talk will delve into the security and privacy concerns in computer systems, and how human behavior and decision-making can affect these issues. The presentation will begin with an exploration of side-channel attacks, which can reveal otherwise protected information from computer systems by observing traces (e.g., timing, power, or resource usage). It will then move on to examine security issues in two emerging platforms, blockchain Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and virtual reality systems, while considering the impact of human factors on their security. The talk aims to highlight the importance of considering human behavior and decision-making in the development of secure computer systems. 


Speaker: Matthew Steinberg, Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy, George Mason University 

Topic: Ed Policy at Mason 

Abstract: Dr. Steinberg, Director of EdPolicyForward: The Center for Education Policy at George Mason University, will provide a high-level discussion of the Education Policy program at George Mason University and an overview of his education policy research projects. A few recent research projects will be highlighted, including: (a) What explains the race gap in teacher performance ratings? Evidence from Chicago Public Schools; (b) The effects of closing urban schools on students’ academic and behavioral outcomes: Evidence from Philadelphia; (c) Fiscal federalism and K–12 education funding: Policy lessons from two educational crises; and (d) Do suspensions affect student outcomes? 


CAHMP HCI Group Meeting – December 8, 2022


The Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnerships (CAHMP) held a HCI group meeting on December 8th, 22. About a dozen participants from CEC and CHSS joined this hybrid (on-line and in-person) meeting. This event was a follow-up on the June HCI workshop, which signaled the beginning of a new stage in interdisciplinary research and community building around HCI at Mason.  The HCI group is one of several community-building initiatives at CAHMP to foster faculty collaborations and meaningful outreaches with industry partners.

At this meeting, two Army Research Laboratory (ARL) HCI researchers, Dr. Alfred Yu and Dr. Katherine Cox, joined the group online and debriefed on ARL’s recent HCI related initiatives, including the Cross-Mission Team Evolution (CMTE) Research Thrust within the ARL Human Autonomy Teaming Essential Research Program (HAT ERP) which is developing capabilities to improve Soldier-system team performance in missions through adaptation and learning via after-action review and mission planning. Many other ARL research focuses, including the development of wearables for real-world assessment of warfighter performance, data mining of large behavioral datasets to understand real-world visual search, augmented perception in extended reality, and computational modeling of the biophysical mechanisms of neurostimulation, find overlaps with the current research and work by CAHMP faculty members.

The meeting wrapped up with a plan to continue engage ARL for future collaborations. Participants also exchanged some insightful thoughts on upcoming HCI funding opportunities.



CAHMP Mini Symposium – “Connecting Technology and Humans”, October 5, 2022


CAHMP hosted a mini symposium on Wednesday Oct. 5, featuring three speakers and a panel on topics connecting technology and humans. CAHMP’s co-director, Sanmay Das, served as the moderator. More than 50 faculty and students participated in this event either in person or virtually. This event is among many of CAHMP’s organized efforts in catalyzing the engagements and collaborations among researchers from across the campus and disciplines.

Three speakers and their topics are:

Dr. Ray Hong, Assistant Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University. Topic: Alignable AIs: Bridging the gap between the Ways Human Thinks and Deep Neural Model Works through Interactive Design

Dr. Gregory Stein, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at George Mason University. Topic: Explainable Interventions: Understanding and Correcting Robots that Plan Despite Missing Knowledge

Dr. Sera Linardi, Associate Professor of Economics at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Founding Director of the Center for Analytical Approaches to Social Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh. Topic: Building a data science for social justice ecosystem to sustain impact

To become a speaker at future CAHMP symposiums, please contact CAHMP assistant director, Peng Warweg –


CAHMP HCI Workshop, June 21-22, 2022

Mason HCI Community Building 

The Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnerships (CAHMP) and the Institute of Digital InnovAtion (IDIA) co-organized on June 21-22 a two-day Human Computer Interaction (HCI workshop. The workshop signaled the beginning of a new stage in interdisciplinary research and community building around HCI at Mason.  


This hybrid event brought together thirteen Mason’s Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researchers across the School of Computing, the School of Art, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Workshop participants built community, identified gaps and opportunities in the national HCI research landscape, outlined core research expertise and capabilities in the Mason HCI community in direct alignment with national priorities, and formulated synergistic research development activities. 


The second day featured a visit by Dr. Andruid Kerne, current NSF Program Director in the Directorate for Computer Information Science and Engineering, and provided the workshop participants with the opportunity to engage directly with an NSF Program Director on relevant HCI-related opportunities across the Foundation.  


This workshop marks the beginning of a new day for HCI research at Mason, as well as the beginning of direct, guided collaborations between IDIA and the Transdisciplinary Centers. 


Mason Participants:  

Sanmay Das, Professor of Computer Science, SoC; Co-director, CAHMP 

Craig Yu, Associate Professor of Computer Science, SoC 

Myeong Lee, Assistant Professor of Information Sciences, CEC

Brittany Johnson, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, SoC 

Kevin Moran, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, SoC 

Gerald Matthews, Professor of Psychology, CHSS 

Shanshan Cui, Associate Professor, School of Art 

Ziyu Yao, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, SoC 

Zhisheng Yan, Assistant Professor of IST, SoC 

Yotam Gingold, Associate Professor of Computer Science, SoC 

Vivian Motti, Assistant Professor of IST, SoC 

Vania Neris, Associate Professor – Department of Computing – Federal University of São Carlos – Brazil; Visiting Scholar – Department of Information Sciences and Technology – George Mason University 

Peng Warweg, Assistant Director, CAHMP 

Amarda Shehu, Professor of Computer Science, SoC; AVP of Research, IDIA 


CAHMP Names New Center Co-director

CAHMP’s co-founder/director, Amarda Shehu has been named Mason’s Associate VP of Research for IDIA starting May 25, 2022. In her new role, Amarda will help to shape Mason’s institutional landscape of computing and digital society, while continuing to promote Mason’s research and innovation. Amarda is one of the three founding leaders of CAHMP. Together with Brenda Bannan and Dave Lattanzi, the three co-directors envisioned, brought a team of faculty around that vision, and ultimately were successful in obtaining funding for CAHMP as a Provost Transdisciplinary Center in 2019. CAHMP would not have existed without their visionary proposal in 2019. Under their leadership and CAHMP’s amazing faculty community, we have achieved many feats together, including the submission of the mega proposal of AI Institute, which, in turn, led to a slew of proposals and awards. In addition to our research capacity, CAHMP is also gaining traction on other critical initiatives at Mason, including curriculum development and entrepreneurship. 

With Amarda stepping out, we are fortunate and glad to announce that Sanmay Das, Professor of Computer Science, has very graciously accepted to step into Amarda’s role as CAHMP’s new co-director.

As a CS professor, Sanmay has broad interests across AI, machine learning, and computational social science. His research interests are in designing effective algorithms for agents in complex, uncertain environments, and in understanding the social or collective outcomes of individual behavior. Of late, he has been particularly interested in understanding the societal implications of the use of algorithms in allocating scarce societal resources. In the broader AI community outside Mason, Sanmay serves in several roles, including as the chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence and as a member of the board of directors of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems. Sanmay served as one of the Co-PIs on CAHMP’s AI Institute proposal in 2020 soon after he joined Mason. Since then, he has taken on various leadership roles here at Mason. Sanmay has been instrumental to CAHMP’s mission at advancing human-machine partnership in research, education and technology transfer, and will now continue with that commitment in a new leadership role as a CAHMP co-director. His interdisciplinary research embodies what is best about CAHMP. 


Digital Archive – Joint Project between Art and Information Science

CAHMP’s Shanshan Cui (Associate Professor, School of Art) and Myeong Lee (Assistant Professor, Information Science) led a Summer Team Impact Grant project on building a digital archive on the Chinese Anti-Rightist Campaign in the 1950s. This interdisciplinary project has not only brought a rich and innovative research experience to Mason students, but also is expected to impact the field of history and humanities education. Please check out their story on the George below, or here.


2022 CAHMP Entrepreneurship Challenge Opening Ceremony

CAHMP MIX Flyer 12-21-21 for email

Application before January 31, 2022 is highly encouraged. Late applications may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Click here to sign up.


Activities include workshops, seminars and final business idea competition. The program runs from February to May 2022. 

Undergraduate and graduate (Master’s and Ph.D.) students are all encouraged. Students can sign up individually, or as a team. If you’d like to be paired with a partner or team, please let us know. 


Contact: Peng Warweg


New center builds collaboration at Arlington Forward event