Xu has actually released multiple acclaimed publications through her work on PAWS. A paper presented at the 35th Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, “Dual-Mandate Patrols: Multi-Armed Bandits for Green Security,” was called a Best Paper Award Runner-Up as a top-six paper out of nearly 1,700 accepted papers, while another publication, “Enhancing Poaching Predictions for Under-Resourced Wildlife Conservation Parks Using Remote Sensing Imagery,” won the very best Lightning Paper Award at the Machine Learning for Development Workshop at the 34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems in 2020.
Xu is working to attend to those variations as a member of Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG), a multi-school, multi-disciplinary research effort that organizes working groups and colloquium series to address the requirements of underserved and marginalized neighborhoods all over the world. Xu joined MD4SG in 2020 as co-organizer for the groups ecological working group, and this past March became a co-organizer for the whole organization.
” I thought, Oh this seems like a phenomenal chance, because I do not truly know of a strong community of computational scientists who are operating in environmental challenges, and I would enjoy to assist cultivate a community,” Xu stated. “Our working group, for instance, has actually really had the ability to bring in people from all around the world.”.
” Shes great to deal with in all of these locations,” stated Bryan Wilder, PhD 21, a former Teamcore laboratory member and member of the MD4SG leadership group. “She has the mix of being extremely engaged and energetic and really making things occur, while also simply being a kind individual to work with.”.
For Xu, research is about more than just publishing– its everything about cultivating and developing relationships neighborhood engagement.
” We are researchers that are not simply attempting to get your information sets, publish a paper and then just walk away,” stated Xu. We want to attain conservation outcomes as much as we desire to accomplish scholastic publication.”.
” Lily has actually led and taken PAWS from a small research idea to a globally impactful research effort leading to removal of thousands of lethal animal snares, conserving threatened wildlife globally,” stated Tambe. “Lily has led an international effort that has actually made the PAWS software offered around the world to hundreds of national parks.” I care a lot about mentorship in all capabilities, whether thats bringing individuals out of their comfort zone, encouraging them to explore the outdoors and understand that this is a place for them,” Xu stated.” We are scientists that are not just attempting to get your information sets, publish a paper and then simply stroll away,” stated Xu. We desire to attain preservation outcomes as much as we desire to attain academic publication.”.
By Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
November 28, 2021
Lily Xu. Credit: Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS
Lily Xu knew from a young age how much the environment and conservation mattered to her..
By 9 years of ages, she d currently decided to eat vegetarian because, as she put it, “I didnt wish to injure animals.”.
Xu grew up thinking her enthusiasms would constantly be different from her professional interest in computer technology. She became a graduate trainee in Milind Tambes Teamcore Lab, and everything altered.
Xu is now doing acclaimed research into using artificial intelligence and expert system to help preservation and anti-poaching efforts around the world. Her recent paper, “Learning, Optimization, and Planning Under Uncertainty for Wildlife Conservation,” won the 2021 INFORMS Doing Good with Good OR Student Paper Competition.
” From our earliest conversations, it was clear that Lily was extremely passionate about sustainability, conservation, and the environment,” stated Tambe, the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “This was likewise the factor our wavelengths matched and I went out of my method to recruit her and ensure she joined my group.”.
In the Teamcore Lab, Xu helped develop Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS), a synthetic intelligence system that interfaces with a database used by park rangers to tape-record observations of illegal poaching and predict which areas are most likely to be poaching hotspots. The system makes it much easier for rangers to choose the very best areas to patrol..
Lily Xu positions at the entryway to Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia. Credit: Lily Xu.
In 2019, Xu and the Teamcore Lab partnered with the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia to check the effectiveness of PAWS. At the time, the sanctuary only had 72 rangers to patrol a location a little larger than the state of Rhode Island.
” Our deal with Cambodia was the most extensive partnership with a park that weve had,” said Xu. “We had several months of conferences, and our interactions with them and the feedback they were providing us about the procedure really formed the design of our algorithms.”.
Xu played a lead function in executing field tests of the PAWS program. Through Tambe, Xu and her lab mates, Srepoks rangers considerably increased the variety of poachers snares they removed throughout the sanctuary.
” Lily has led and taken PAWS from a little research idea to a worldwide impactful research study effort resulting in elimination of countless lethal animal snares, saving threatened wildlife internationally,” stated Tambe. “Lily has led an international effort that has made the PAWS software application available worldwide to hundreds of national forests. This holds true international effect, intending to conserve threatened wildlife around the world.”.
Lily Xu patrols Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia. Credit: Lily Xu.
Xu has constantly liked nature, however didnt get to experience much of it while maturing in the Maryland residential areas of Washington, D.C. She finally got to immerse herself in the outdoors when she got to Dartmouth College as an undergraduate in 2014.
” I went camping and treking for the very first time as part of my freshman orientation trip, simply definitely fell for it, and after that spent as much time as I could outdoors,” she said. “That made me a lot more attuned to how valuable the natural surroundings is, and just how much I appreciate doing my part to protect it.”.
She eventually started to assist organize Dartmouths first-year trip and handled leadership roles with the schools sophomore trip and canoe club. Xu didnt desire to simply experience nature, she desired others to appreciate it too.
Thats continued at Harvard, where shes mentored 4 trainees because the summer season of 2020, and become part of numerous mentorship teams.
” I care a lot about mentorship in all capabilities, whether thats bringing individuals out of their convenience zone, encouraging them to check out the outdoors and understand that this is a place for them,” Xu said. “The outdoors community is traditionally wealthy and traditionally white. Im neither of those things, and I truly wish to motivate other people and show them that this can be their space too. Likewise, from a computer system science standpoint, this is a field that is traditionally male-dominated, and particularly in AI research study, its traditionally individuals in the western world.”.