Furong Huang Receives Microsoft Award
University of Maryland Assistant Professor of Computer Science Furong Huang received the Microsoft Accelerate Foundation Models Research award for her work titled "Building Foundation Models for Efficient Finetuning or Zero-Shot Learning of Sequential Decision-Making."
The award recognizes and funds innovative projects that push the boundaries of foundational models and their potential applications. Winners like Huang can receive up to $20,000 in Azure credits, equipping them with powerful tools to further their research endeavors.
"I am deeply honored to receive the Microsoft Accelerate Foundation Models Research award," Huang said. "This recognition not only affirms the significance of our work in sequence decision-making but also serves as an inspiration for my team to push the boundaries of what's possible in machine learning and artificial intelligence."
Huang's research delves deep into the intricacies of machine learning, focusing on maximizing the efficiency of foundational models. Once fine-tuned, these models can enhance zero-shot learning—a technique that allows machines to recognize and act on data they haven't been explicitly trained on.
The prize package will grant Huang exclusive access to Microsoft Azure and OpenAI API, which includes innovative technologies such as GPT-4 and DALL-E 2. She will also be able to utilize open-source models like Llama-2; benefit from Azure Cognitive Services covering areas like speech, vision, decision and translation; and explore Microsoft's open-source software libraries.
"Our research aims to revolutionize the way foundation models are used in sequence decision-making across various domains, from health care to autonomous systems," Huang shared. "The award provides us with the resources to further develop models that are more effective but also trustworthy and ethical.”
By emphasizing both online and offline learning stages, Huang's work strives to create adaptable AI systems that can quickly pivot to meet specific needs. Ultimately, she believes the research will have a "lasting and positive impact" on society, making AI more reliable and beneficial for all.
Story by Samuel Malede Zewdu, CS Communications
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