News & Events

06/15/24 - Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Summer Research Awardees

The Center for Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence (CEAI) at Tulane University, in partnership with the Connolly Alexander Institute for Data Science (CAIDS), is pleased to announce the establishment of the Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Summer Research Program. This innovative program aims to foster research into human-centered artificial intelligence (AI) with a focus on social impact, emphasizing the importance of building meaningful relationships with diverse communities throughout the AI lifecycle. This summer, the program awarded funds to support three groundbreaking research projects, each receiving $10,000 to advance their work:

  • LandmarkAI: Recognizing Real Estate Development Threats to Unregistered National Historic Landmarks
    - PI: Fallon Aidoo, Assistant Professor of Real Estate & Historic Preservation, Tulane University, School of Architecture
    - Project Overview: This project aims to develop AI tools to identify and protect unregistered national historic landmarks from real estate development threats, preserving cultural heritage and history. The project will use AI to map and analyze the development of historic properties in the Oak Bluffs Highlands Heritage Project of the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard. By developing AI-enhancements to text recognition and table analysis software, the team will guide community-driven preservation of that ethnic heritage.
  • Chocó Forest Watch: Supporting Local Conservation in a Biodiversity Hotspot
    - PI: Jordan Karubian, Professor, Tulane University, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    - Project Overview: This initiative leverages AI to aid local conservation efforts in one of the world's most biodiverse areas, enhancing the protection of critical ecosystems. The project will co-develop a localized forest monitoring system called Chocó Forest Watch with Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales (FCAT), an Ecuadorian grassroots NGO that manages a community-run reserve in the highly threatened Chocó rainforests of Ecuador. Through a human-centered design approach that engages local community members, the project will create a user-friendly, low-cost, and locally-adapted tool that supports FCAT to monitor and respond to deforestation.
  • Transforming a Traditional Evidence-Based Intervention: AI-Enhanced Support for Young Adults with Substance Use Disorders
    - PI: Audrey Hang Hai, Assistant Professor, Tulane University, School of Social Work
    - Project Overview: This research seeks to integrate AI into existing interventions to provide enhanced support for young adults struggling with substance use disorders, aiming to improve outcomes and accessibility. Partnering with the CADA Prevention & Recovery Center, the team will conduct focus groups to assess attitudes towards the use of AI to help guide individuals to available resources to deal with substance use disorders.
06/03/24 - Podcast - Nicholas Mattei On Inductive Reasoning in Generative AI

Prof. Mattei is interviewed by the podcast

05/19/24 - Podcast - Nicholas Mattei On AI And The Future Of Smarter Machines

Prof. Mattei is interviewed by the podcast Six Pixels of Separation - The ThinkersOne Podcast to discuss the future of AI.

05/15/24 - Presentation - Leveraging Data and Artificial Intelligence for Human Centered Computational Reasoning and Choice

Prof. Mattei gave an invited talk at the TOC4Fairness Seminar, a Simons Collaboration project,

05/15/24 - Panel Discussion - Artificial Intelligence and Environmental Law

Prof. Mattei served on a webinar panel about the growing role of artificial intelligence in environmental law for the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and other groups.

04/26/24 - Panel Discussion - AI FYI: What you need to know about Artificial Intelligence in the Field of Planning

Prof. Mattei served on a panel at the 2024 Louisiana Smart Growth Summit in a discussion to equip planners and other stakeholders with a practical comprehension of AI's applications, highlighting its potential to revolutionize routine tasks while ensuring ethical, equitable outcomes.

04/23/24 - Workshop - Exploring the Transformative Impact of Applied AI on Health Outcomes

Prof. Culotta co-organized a workshop at Ochsner Health exploring industry-academic partnerships in AI and Health.

04/11/24 - Panel - WIS x EIT: A Discussion on Equity and AI

Prof. Button and Mattei served on a panel sponsored by Tulane Women in Science (WIS) and Equity in Tech (EIT) to discuss issues of equity in AI.

04/04/24 - Presentation - AI for the People: Unleashing the Power of Community-Engaged AI

Prof. Culotta gave an invited talk at Amherst College discussing community-engaged AI projects.

04/04/24 - Panel Discussion - AI in Academia, Healthcare and Research at Tulane and Beyond

Profs. Button and Culotta served on a panel at the 2024 Tulane Tech Day discussing the future of AI.

03/15/24 - Panel Discussion - Algorithms and the Criminal Justice System

Prof. Culotta served on a panel at the 2024 Loyola Law Review Symposium  to present work entitled "Improving Transparency and Equitability in Criminal Court with AI."

03/12/24 - CEAI Lunch and Learn: AI Enforcement: Examining the Impact of AI on Judicial Fairness and Public Safety

Yi-Jen "Ian" Ho
Associate Professor, Freeman School of Business, Tulane University
Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Norman Meyer 118

State judicial systems in the U.S. face the challenge of managing an overwhelming prison population and record-high incarceration costs. To alleviate these challenges, judicial systems are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) for recommending alternative punishments with the purpose of diverting low-risk offenders away from jail based on their recidivism risk. However, the impacts of such AI initiatives on judges’ decision-making, fairness towards offenders, and public safety remain unknown. This presentation covers our attempt at studying those impacts. Using a regression discontinuity design and a unique dataset consisting of 27,357 sentencing cases in Virginia over close to a decade, we show that the introduction of AI recommendations significantly increases the probability of receiving alternative punishment, lowers the probability of incarceration, and shortens the length of imprisonment. More importantly, we find that AI recommendations may affect judicial fairness in differing directions. While judges are typically more lenient toward female offenders compared to males, AI helps alleviate such gender-based disparity. On the other hand, judges stay fair when sentencing risky offenders, yet, we find evidence of a racial bias favoring White offenders over Black ones, even after both groups receive alternative punishment recommendations from AI. We last analyze the societal impact of judges’ decisions based on offenders’ recidivism. We show that judges’ leniency towards risky females might be justified from a public safety perspective but their bias towards less risky White offenders hurts public safety. Accordingly, we provide actionable implications for the public, judges, and policymakers to promote judicial fairness with AI support.
Biography: Yi-Jen (Ian) Ho joined the Freeman School in 2023 from Penn State University, where he served as an assistant professor of Information Systems. He is interested in understanding the impacts of emerging information technologies. His current research focuses on location-based services and advertising, online platforms, and artificial intelligence. He applies various methods to obtain insights and identify causalities, including game-theoretic modeling, econometrics, randomized experiments, and machine learning. His research has appeared in premier business journals, including Information Systems Research and Production and Operations Management. He received the Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award in 2022 and the Nunamaker-Chen Dissertation Award in 2017 from the INFORMS Information Systems Society. His research has also earned best paper awards and nominations at major conferences, including INFORMS Information Systems and eBusiness Sections, WISE, and WeB. He has served as a special-issue senior editor at Production and Operations Management and as a cluster co-chair, associate editor, and program committee member for leading conferences. He holds a B.B.A. from the National Central University, an M.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of California, Irvine.
Sponsors: This speaker series is sponsored by the Center for Community-Engaged AI (CEAI) and the Connolly Alexander Institute for Data Science (CAIDS)

01/31/24 - News Article - Court Watch NOLA's new bond dashboard

Advocate piece describing the partnership between CEAI and Court Watch NOLA to provide greater transparency in criminal court system.

01/29/24 - CEAI Lunch and Learn: Road to Venture-Backed Innovation for Good

Blake Bertuccelli-Booth
CEO of Equalify
Monday, January 29th
LBC Room 202 (Rechler)

Raising funds for for-profit ventures is often more straightforward than securing funding for non-profit initiatives. During our lunch, I will share the journey of funding my web accessibility startup, Equalify. We'll delve into particular funding sources and discuss some of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way.
Biography: Blake is the CEO of Equalify. Recognizing that over 96% of the million most popular homepages fail accessibility tests, he founded Equalify as an open-source, non-profit initiative dedicated to ensuring equal internet access for people with disabilities. Prior to leading Equalify, he co-founded The Blue House, a civic-minded co-working space, and NolaVie, a community journalism project. Additionally, he established the 11:11 Philosophers Group (, which was instrumental in launching the New Orleans AI (NOAI) symposium in 2023.
Sponsors: This speaker series is sponsored by the Center for Community-Engaged AI (CEAI) and the Connolly Alexander Institute for Data Science (CAIDS)

01/19/24 - Panel Discussion - How AI is Changing the World

Prof. Mattei served on a panel at Shir Chadash, along with Julia Lang (Tulane) and Justin Sackett (Lyft).

12/19/23 - News Article - Bigger, Not Necessarily Better

Prof. Mattei is quoted in an article in the Communications of the ACM about the inverse scaling properties of large language models.

12/13/23 - Gulf Coast AI Social at NeurIPS

neurips_logo The goal of this networking event is to provide a forum to raise awareness about the AI research happening in the Gulf Coast region, including the unique and pressing challenges where AI/ML/DS research can have impact including coastal, climate, logistics, and materials. Part of the Neural Information Processing Systems conference held in New Orleans in 2023. Panelists include:

  • Alessandra Bazzano, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Tulane University’s Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences, and Director of Tulane’s Center of Excellence in Maternal Child Health (CEMCH)
  • Blake Bertuccelli-Booth, CEO of Equalify, a web accessibility platform, and Co-Founder of the New Orleans AI (NOAI) symposium
  • Walter Isaacson, Leonard Lauder Professor of American History and Values at Tulane, winner of the National Humanities Medal in 2023 and past CEO of the Aspen Institute, former chairman of CNN, and the editor of TIME magazine. Author of bestselling books including Elon Musk; The Code Breaker; Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography.
  • Robert Lalka, Albert R. Lepage Professor in Business at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business and Executive Director of the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Moderated by Dr. Nicholas Mattei, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, School of Science and Engineering & Tulane University Center for Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence Faculty


11/28/23 - Podcast - Beyond algorithms: Establishing trust and transparency in the AI era

Prof. Mattei joins Kristina Podnar on the Power of Digital Policy podcast to discuss the challenges in building trust in AI, focusing on transparency, fairness, and ethical considerations, particularly in relation to generative AI models like ChatGPT.

11/20/23 - Publication - Use Open Source for Safer Generative AI Experiments

Aron Culotta and Nicholas Mattei published an article in MIT Sloan Management Review about the safe use of open source AI in corporate settings.

11/16/23 - Panel Discussion - Creativity and Artificial Intelligence

Creativity and Artificial Intelligence: A Discussion with Jennifer Egan and Tulane Professors Nicholas Mattei (SSE) and Vicki Mayer (SLA) — In her most recent novel The Candy House, Jennifer Egan has opened up the conversation about artificial intelligence in provocative ways. Tulane computer scientist Nicholas Mattei and Tulane professor of communication Vicki Mayer study and write about technology and society. Join us as for an interdisciplinary conversation probing Egan’s work and what it tells us about the rapidly changing present. Open to Tulane faculty in relevant scholarship.

11/16/23 - Podcast - The year of ChatGPT: A journey of highs, lows and its future

Prof. Mattei reflects on the one year anniversary of the release of ChatGPT on ComputerWorld's IDG TECHtalk podcast.

11/07/23 - SSE Faculty Luncheon

Profs. Culotta and Mattei gave an overview of the Center at Tulane's School of Science and Engineering Faculty Luncheon.

10/27/23 - Centers of Excellence Symposium

Prof. Culotta gave an overview of the Center at Tulane's Centers of Excellence Symposium.

10/24/23 - Film Screening and Discussion - Hacking Your Mind: Weapons of Influence

Please join Tulane University Libraries, Tulane University Center for Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence (TU: CEAI), and Tulane Connolly Alexander Institute for Data Science (CAIDS) for a screening of Hacking Your Mind: Weapons of Influence followed by a lively discussion examining the role of algorithms in social media and their impact on social information networks and our daily lives.
Joining the post-screening discussion are:

  • Dr. Caryn Bell, Assistant Professor of Social, Behavioral, and Population Science, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine & Tulane University Center for Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence Faculty
  • Dr. Jacquelyne Thoni Howard, Professor of Practice at the Connolly Alexander Institute for Data Science
  • Dr. Aron Culotta, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the School of Science and Engineering & Director of the Tulane University Center for Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence
  • Dr. Nicholas Mattei, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, School of Science and Engineering & Tulane University Center for Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence Faculty
  • Website


09/21/23 - Podcast - Have we hit the AI trough of disillusionment?

Prof. Mattei discusses the current state of AI on ComputerWorld's IDG TECHtalk podcast.

09/20/23 - AI is Here. What Does This Mean for Training, Learning & the Availability of Jobs?

Panel discussion at the 2nd Annual GNOu Workforce Summit, New Orleans, LA

  • Aron Culotta, Associate Professor of Computer Science and head of the Tulane Center for Community‐Engaged Artificial Intelligence, Tulane University
  • Dr. Vassil Roussev, Professor and Computer Science Dept Chair, University of New Orleans
  • Dr. Richard Peters

  • Moderator: Dustin Hughes, Technical Director Software Architecture, POOLCORP


09/18/23 - Lecture - Mallory Avery: What Artificial Intelligence Means for Diversity Recruitment and Beyond

Invited talk by Mallory Avery, Department of Economics, Monash University. Jointly sponsored by CAIDS.

09/15/23 - Art and AI Conversation

Please join the Newcomb Art Department for an artist’s talk by David Sullivan (Adjunct Professor, Newcomb Art Department of Tulane University) followed by a conversation with Dr. Aron Culotta (Associate Professor of Computer Science at Tulane University)
Tuesday, Sept. 12th
5:00 pm
Stone Auditorium (Rm. 210, Woldenberg Art Center)


06/12/23 - News Article - Local universities prep for burgeoning AI landscape

Prof. Culotta is quoted in a New Orleans City Business article about the impact of artificial intelligence on higher education.

05/22/23 - Distinguished Lecture - Pascal Van Hentenryck

"Machine Learning for Engineering"
Pascal Van Hentenryck, Georgia Tech. Distinguished Lecture Series. 4:00pm, Stanley Thomas 302 pascal_logo Abstract: The fusion of machine learning and optimization has the potential to achieve breakthroughs in science and engineering that the two technologies cannot accomplish independently. This talk reviews a number of research avenues in this direction, including the concept of optimization proxies and end-to-end learning. Principled combinations of machine learning and optimization are illustrated on case studies in energy systems, mobility, and supply chains. Preliminary results show how this fusion makes it possible to perform real-time risk assessment in energy systems, find near-optimal solutions quickly in supply chains, and implement model-predictive control for large-scale mobility systems.
About the Speaker: Pascal Van Hentenryck is an A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. He is also the director of the NSF Artificial Intelligence Institute for Advances in Optimization. Prior to this appointment, he was a professor of Computer Science at Brown University for about 20 years, he led the optimization research group (about 70 people) at National ICT Australia (NICTA) (until its merger with CSIRO) and was the Seth Bonder Collegiate Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Van Hentenryck is also an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. Van Hentenryck is a Fellow of AAAI (the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) and INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science). Van Hentenryck’s research focuses on artificial intelligence and operations research for engineering applications: He explores methodologies that includes large-scale optimization and machine learning and applies them in challenging applications in energy, mobility, supply chains and logistics, privacy, and resilience. In particular, he leads the NSF AI Institute for Advances in Optimization, the Socially-Aware Mobility (SAM) project with a major focus on on-demand multi-modal transit systems, and the RAMC Project whose goal is to study risk-aware market clearing algorithms to integrate large shares of renewable energy. Together with MARTA, he piloted MARTA Reach, an on-demand service to explore the viability of on-demand multi-modal transit systems in Atlanta. Earlier in his career, Van Hentenryck designed and implemented several widely used optimization systems, including the constraint programming language CHIP (the foundation of modern constraint-programming systems) and the modeling language OPL (now an IBM product).

04/28/23 - Community Workshop - Artificial Intelligence: Risks and Benefits for Local Communities

A one-day workshop of academics and community partners to discuss emerging issues in artificial intelligence and the potential benefits and harms it may have on our society and local communities. A forum to brainstorm ideas, articulate opportunities, and identify risks on the horizon as artificial intelligence’s impact grows.
News coverage | Flyer aievent_logo

04/10/23 - Building Ethically Bounded AI with Metacognition

Nicholas Mattei
Invited presentation at the University of California at Santa Barbara Applied Math and Data Science Seminar (UCSB DS)

04/05/23 - Podcast - Is the world moving closer to an AI singularity?

Prof. Mattei discusses possible threats from AI on ComputerWorld's IDG TECHtalk podcast.

03/29/23 - Leveraging Data and Artificial Intelligence for Human Centered Computational Reasoning and Choice

Nicholas Mattei
Invited presentation at the University of New South Whales Artificial Intelligence Institute.

03/07/23 - Revolutionizing Higher Education: Exploring the Transformative Power of ChatGPT

Like all new major technological changes, ChatGPT and other large language models will create changes in the classroom, in the curriculum, in the way we prepare our students for professional careers.
Join us for an upcoming panel discussion as we explore the impact of this groundbreaking technology on teaching and learning. Our panelists will discuss how ChatGPT can transform the way we deliver course content and engage with students as well as its potential for personalized learning and assessment. We will also examine the ethical implications on this technology, such as academic integrity, data security and privacy concerns.


  • Robin Forman, Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Professor of Mathematics, SSE
  • Aron Culotta, Associate Professor of Computer Science, SSE
  • Mollye Demosthenidy, Associate Dean and Clinical Associate Professor, SPHTM
  • J. Celeste Lay, Interim Dean of NTC, Professor of Political Science, SLA

Sponsored by Tulane's Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching and the Office of Academic Affairs.


02/07/23 - Teaching Computing and Technology Ethics: Engaging Through Science Fiction

Emanuelle Burton, Judy Goldsmith, Nicholas Mattei, Cory Siler, Sara-Jo Swiatek
Tutorial at the 37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

This workshop will introduce participants interested in teaching a full-term computer science ethics course to the tools and techniques of using science fiction to teach that course. The workshop will consist of three hourlong parts, each of which will draw heavily on science fiction as a teaching tool: (1) an introduction to and tips for teaching with multiple ethical frameworks including virtue ethics, deontology, communitarianism, and utilitarianism; (2) A deep dive on teaching about personhood and privacy by focusing on what's at stake, using multiple viewpoints; and (3) an overview and interactive workshop on the practical logistics of teaching a full term ethics course including example syllabi and teaching materials. This course will equip participants to make rich use of science fiction in their course and to incorporate multiple ethical perspectives into classroom discussion. Participants will have an opportunity to work on course structure and teaching modules in small groups and will receive example teaching materials. All presenters are authors of the textbook, Computing and Technology Ethics: Engaging through Science Fiction, forthcoming from MIT Press in early 2023. The first three authors have presented and written widely on using science fiction to teach computer science ethics.

01/23/23 - News Article - As ChatGPT flourishes, university debates its merits

Prof. Mattei is quoted in a Tulane Hullabaloo article about the impact ChatGPT on higher education.

01/09/23 - Computing and Technology Ethics: AI, Bias, Fairness, Optimization and so Much More!

Nicholas Mattei
2023 Grid Science Winter School & Conference, sponsored by the Center for Nonlinear Studies (CNLS) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

12/02/22 - Distinguished Lecture - Peter Stone

Outracing Champion Gran Turismo Drivers with Deep Reinforcement Learning
Peter Stone, University of Texas at Austin, Distinguished Lecture Series. 4:00pm, Stanley Thomas 302 peter_logo Abstract: Many potential applications of artificial intelligence involve making real-time decisions in physical systems while interacting with humans. Automobile racing represents an extreme example of these conditions; drivers must execute complex tactical manoeuvres to pass or block opponents while operating their vehicles at their traction limits. Racing simulations, such as the PlayStation game Gran Turismo, faithfully reproduce the non-linear control challenges of real race cars while also encapsulating the complex multi-agent interactions. Here we describe how we trained agents for Gran Turismo that can compete with the world's best e-sports drivers. We combine state-of-the-art, model-free, deep reinforcement learning algorithms with mixed-scenario training to learn an integrated control policy that combines exceptional speed with impressive tactics. In addition, we construct a reward function that enables the agent to be competitive while adhering to racing's important, but under-specified, sportsmanship rules. We demonstrate the capabilities of our agent, Gran Turismo Sophy, by winning a head-to-head competition against four of the world's best Gran Turismo drivers. By describing how we trained championship-level racers, we demonstrate the possibilities and challenges of using these techniques to control complex dynamical systems in domains where agents must respect imprecisely defined human norms.
About the Speaker: Dr. Peter Stone holds the Truchard Foundation Chair in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. He is Associate Chair of the Computer Science Department, as well as Director of Texas Robotics. In 2013 he was awarded the University of Texas System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award and in 2014 he was inducted into the UT Austin Academy of Distinguished Teachers, earning him the title of University Distinguished Teaching Professor. Professor Stone's research interests in Artificial Intelligence include machine learning (especially reinforcement learning), multiagent systems, and robotics. Professor Stone received his Ph.D in Computer Science in 1998 from Carnegie Mellon University. From 1999 to 2002 he was a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Artificial Intelligence Principles Research Department at AT&T Labs - Research. He is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, AAAI Fellow, IEEE Fellow, AAAS Fellow, ACM Fellow, Fulbright Scholar, and 2004 ONR Young Investigator. In 2007 he received the prestigious IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, given biannually to the top AI researcher under the age of 35, and in 2016 he was awarded the ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award. Professor Stone co-founded Cogitai, Inc., a startup company focused on continual learning, in 2015, and currently serves as Executive Director of Sony AI America.

11/30/22 - Gulf Coast AI Social at NeurIPS

neurips_logo The goal of this networking event is to provide a forum to raise awareness about the AI research happening in the Gulf Coast region, including the unique and pressing challenges where AI/ML/DS research can have impact including coastal, climate, logistics, and materials. Part of the Neural Information Processing Systems conference held in New Orleans in 2022

11/10/22 - Upending Power Inequities in Community-Based Research: The role of Community Knowledge and Expertise

Caryn Bell
Though co-learning is a key tenet of community-engaged research, many still view the academy as the center of knowledge production and expertise. We will discuss the need for recognizing non-academic expertise as the fundamental requirement for community-engaged research and the change in power dynamics needed to achieve this goal.

09/22/22 - Podcast - AI is smart – can we make it ethical, too?

Prof. Mattei discusses AI ethics on Tulane's On Good Authority podcast.

04/08/22 - Community Workshop - Data x Community x Design

dxcxd2022_logo A one-day workshop focused on the intersection of data, community, and design. For more information, see the DxCxD website