Computer science alumnus promoted

Thomas Williams, EG13 and EG17, has been promoted to tenured Associate Professor in Computer Science at Colorado School of Mines.
Thomas Williams, EG13 and EG17

Tufts computer science alumnus Thomas Williams, EG13, EG17, was recently promoted to tenured Associate Professor in Computer Science at the Colorado School of Mines, one year ahead of schedule. Williams, who earned a joint PhD in computer and cognitive science from the Department of Computer Science in 2017, is currently the director of the Mines Interactive Robotics Research (MIRROR) Lab, a research group focusing on interactive robotics. His work focuses on human-robot interactions, particularly where it comes to understanding natural language and generation in uncertain and unknown environments.

The MIRROR Lab also studies the ways in which robots communicate such that they are sensitive to human factors like trust and workload. Williams and his associates explore how robots can adapt to communicating in mixed-reality environments, especially in spaces where these robots need to perform “gestures” to communicate about their surroundings. Augmented reality head-mounted displays can then be leveraged as a canvas for these gestural cues.

Williams has been enormously successful in securing funding for this work, receiving three early career awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He has received funding from the Office of Naval Research and the Army Research Laboratory and has all the while actively disseminated his research. One PhD student has already graduated with Williams as their mentor.

Having received a teaching fellowship at Tufts in 2015, as well as the New and Future AI Educator Award at the Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence Symposia both in 2017 and 2018, Williams has been on track to becoming an exceptional educator. He has also been part of Doctoral Consortia at three conferences between 2014 and 2016. We congratulate him on all his successes and look forward to learning more about his career in the future.

Computer Science