Schwing credits lab members for Amazon Research Award
Seeing the unseen has been the focus of CSL Assistant Professor Alex Schwing’s research for many years. This research recently won him one of the 2019 Amazon Research Awards. He appreciates the acknowledgement but prefers to credit “an amazing set of lab members” who conduct the research.
“It is great recognition for the work we’re doing, and the credit goes to a lot of people,” said Schwing, an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. “The students are really the ones who do the magic behind the work. I also want to thank all faculty and specifically the ones involved in computer vision and machine learning research at Illinois. All of them are very supportive, and without them this wouldn’t have been possible.”
The project, “Seeing the Unseen: Temporal Amodal Instance Level Video Object Segmentation,” uses machine learning to determine the full extent of partially obscured objects,
such as a human standing behind a car or a dog behind a tree. This information would be crucial for the safety of autonomous agents like self-driving cars.
Schwing specifically credits his graduate students for coming up with innovative solutions and research directions to address the challenges of this type of work. As part of the Amazon Research Award, the students will have access to Amazon datasets and computational power, increasing their ability to contribute to the project.
In addition to the computing resources and data, each recipient of the Amazon Research Award receives both funds and Amazon Web Services Promotional Credits to support their efforts. Fifty-one awards were given to researchers in 10 countries across 11 focus areas. The machine learning efforts involved with Schwing’s research made it an exceptional candidate for this award.
“The Amazon Research Awards help fund outstanding, innovative research proposals across machine learning, robotics, operations research, and more, while helping strengthen connections between Amazon research teams, academic researchers, and their affiliated institutions,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon Machine Learning. “The breadth and depth of the research this year’s recipients will pursue is impressive and will lead to critical innovations for our customers and meaningful scientific advancements in each of the 11 focus areas.”