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Explorations in Science and Technology

Making Software People-Compatible


Yes, a computer beat humans on Jeopardy! And that hurt. But get over it. Pitt scientists are studying how computers can be useful allies, too—helping us to explore language, learning, and the law.

Researchers in Pitt’s Intelligent Systems Program (ISP) hope to make it possible for smart software to parse information and detect nuance. Faculty at ISP often combine artificial intelligence (AI) with other fields within computer science and other disciplines like biomedical informatics and law.


Computer Science Professor and ISP director Diane Litman studies artificial intelligence in education, as well as computational linguistics and natural language learning. In 2011, the Association for the Advancement of AI honored her as a senior member.

Read about Litman's research.


Searching for online reviews of movies, restaurants, and other products and places can yield millions of results—but no clear way to sift through them. What if you could sort reviews based on whether they’re positive or negative? Professor of Computer Science Jan Wiebe aims to create software that can analyze reviews based on favorable or unfavorable language.

Read a Forbes article on Wiebe's research.


Law Professor Kevin Ashley studies the reasoning methods that judges use in making legal decisions. He's combining his expertise in law and computer science to help students explore the intricate logic of the nation's highest court.

Read about Kevin Ashley in Pitt Magazine.


Computer Science Professor Jingtao Wang won a Provost's Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence (ACIE) award for developing a new undergraduate course that focuses on designing, prototyping, and evaluating mobile applications.

Read a spotlight on Wang's research.