Systems Research to Solve Societal Problems

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Much of systems and networking research focusses on improving performance, often defined in terms of throughput, latency, and robustness. Instead, our lab have been working on systems research to address user-facing problems such as accessibility, sustainability, privacy, and Quality of Experience (QoE).
In the first part of the talk, I will describe our work on improving accessibility of smartphone applications for users with disabilities. Blind users face several challenges when using smartphones applications from fast-draining battery to inaccessible smartphone interactions. I will describe our work that combines systems innovations in virtualization and sensing with a human-centered design to significantly improve accessibility.
In the second part of the talk, I will describe our work on sustainable NLP models. Large NLP models require significant energy and compute resources and has implications beyond privacy. As a first step towards sustainability, I will discuss our work on designing accurate and interpretable energy predictions for NLP models.

Aruna Balasubramanian is an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University (and a visiting faculty at SUNY Korea). She received her Ph.D from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and then was a Computing Innovations Fellow at the University of Washington. She works in the area of networked systems. Her current work consists of (1) improving QoE and equitable access of Internet applications, (2) improving the usability, accessibility, and privacy of mobile systems, and (3) sustainable NLP. She is the recipient of the IMC test-of-time award, a SIGMOBILE Rockstar award, a Ubicomp best paper award, a Computing Innovation Fellowship, a VMWare Early Career award, and several Google research awards. She is passionate about improving the diversity in Computer Science and leads the diversity committee at Stony Brook, is the faculty advisor for the WiCS and WPhD groups at Stony Brook, and is an active member of the N2Women group.