UW–Madison’s Karumbaiah awarded American Family Insurance funding for research on bias in artificial intelligence

Shamya Karumbaiah, an assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology, has been awarded new funding for her research aimed at identifying harmful biases in artificial intelligence tools. 


Karumbaiah’s project will develop a framework to audit large language models (LLMs), which power AI applications, for such biases. The framework will make fairness failures and consequent harms more transparent, build stakeholder trust in issues of bias, and improve LLM reliability in diverse deployment contexts and populations by informing future work on fairness failures. This direct, transparent approach to LLM evaluation will build stakeholders’ agency and power to be critical consumers.

Broadly, Karumbaiah’s research focuses on human-centered artificial intelligence, algorithmic bias, learning analytics, and learning sciences. Another of her ongoing projects is developing a tool to support teachers in understanding the benefits and harms of using an AI tool in their classrooms. And, in partnerships with the School of Education’s Diego Román and philosophy professor Harry Brighouse, she is examining how large language models can be made more equitable for multilingual students and how human values like fairness and privacy can be deployed when building AI tools responsibly.

Karumbaiah is among nine campus PIs whose projects were awarded funding in the latest round of the American Family Funding Initiative, a unique sponsored research partnership between American Family Insurance and UW–Madison through the Data Science Institute.

American Family Insurance has committed $10 million over 10 years to support UW–Madison research with potential to fuel discovery in data science, while creating value for industry and society. Since its launch in spring 2020, 40 teams of UW–Madison faculty and collaborators have been awarded nearly six million dollars through this internal funding competition.

A seventh round of funding will be announced in January 2025. Project summaries and PI bios are available at the data science @ uw website.

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