Computer Sciences welcomes new teaching faculty Gurmail Singh and Scott Swanson

The Department of Computer Sciences welcomes two new teaching faculty: Gurmail Singh and Scott Swanson. Read about them below!

Gurmail Singh

Gurmail Singh

Hometown: Regina, Canada

Educational/professional background: Ph.D. University of Regina; Postdoc. Department of Computer Science and Department of Software Systems at University of Regina

Could you please describe your area of focus? I work on Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and Computational Learning Theory.

What main issue do you address or problem do you seek to solve in your work? I am attempting to develop interpretable/transparent deep learning models.

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with? I hope my students will develop critical thinking skills. My students should be able to apply their knowledge to solve real-life problems.

What attracted you to UW-Madison? It is a highly ranked university, and the Department of Computer Sciences is very strong.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. My work is in Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI has many applications and is useful to society in many ways.

Please tell us about something you’re working on in layperson’s terms, so that non-computer scientists at UW-Madison and the general public can understand what you’re passionate about. Deep learning techniques are well proved for their efficiency in providing solutions to many social and economic problems. Most of the deep learning algorithms work as a black-box, because they lack the transparency of the reasoning process of their predictions. Hence, the lack of interpretability/transparency of the reasoning process of such deep learning models has become a key issue for whether we can trust predictions that are coming from these models. However, the transparency of the reasoning process of a deep learning model related to a high stake decision is a necessity. I am trying to develop interpretable/transparent deep learning models.

Hobbies/other interests: Spending time with my family

Scott Swanson

Scott Swanson

Hometown: Born in Champaign, IL, raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Educational/professional background: BS Computer Engineering, UIUC; BA History, UIUC; MS Computer Science UW-Madison; ABD UW-Madison.

Most of my career I’ve been one sort of research programmer or another – meteorology, economics, education, biomedical. In grad school I did some science writing, and educational software design. I also spent five years as a partner in a web development company.

How did you get into your field of research? I was focused on Machine Learning in grad school when Jude Shavlik and Debbie Joseph offered the first ever UW-Madison bioinformatics course, an advanced graduate seminar. Madison turned out to be a great city for a bioinformatics career.

Could you please describe your area of focus? Biological sequence analysis (RNA, DNA, epigenomics, etc.).

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with? The instructor is not the enemy, and education is not an adversarial endeavor. It’s a partnership between students and teachers, with a shared goal.  

Hobbies/other interests:

I …
… play hockey.
… play guitar, ukulele and banjo.
… sail with the UW-Madison Hoofer sailing club.
… like to camp and canoe.
… am learning to garden. Lazily.