From avoiding traffic jams to saving lives in hospitals across the country, advances in data collection and machine learning are changing the way we live.

Eric Horvitz, a technical fellow at Microsoft and director of the Microsoft Research lab at Redmond, spoke to a gathering of students and faculty on Feb. 19 about progress in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence and discussed several practical applications for those advances.

During his talk, part of the Computer Science Department Colloquium Distinguished Speaker series, Horvitz noted that the sharp increase in the amount of data available to researchers has helped refine machine learning and allowed engineers to design models that both make better predictions and support improved decision-making. He profiled a series of case studies, including the development and refinement of traffic monitoring in smartphone map applications and the use of health care data to help reduce the frequency of patient readmissions.

The event was hosted by Computer Science Assistant Professor Hongning Wang, along with University Professor Emerita Anita Jones, also of the Department of Computer Science.

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