Melanie Mitchell, Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1990
Department of Computer Science
One of the unsolved challenges in computer technology is enabling computers to identify and analyze visual images. Melanie Mitchell is working to develop new algorithms to do just that, using ideas from biology and evolution.
Mitchell's research may have wide-ranging influence on the role computers play in our lives. In medicine, it could enable computers to do much of the X-ray and MRI analyses currently done by humans. In national security, it could make computers take over a greater share of the job of viewing and interpreting the millions of satellite images taken every day.
It can even make a difference on a personal level.
"The World Wide Web has changed everyone's life. It's given us access to huge amounts of information through the use of search engines. But more and more information is stored in visual images rather than text, so we have to find better ways to find the information stored in those images," she says.
Her work addresses a key concept in the field of artificial intelligence. She earned her Ph.D. under one of the field's pioneers, Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.