Dr. Brent Hecht is an associate professor at Northwestern University and Director of Applied Science in Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices division. At Northwestern, Dr. Hecht leads the People, Space and Algorithms (PSA) Research Group, whose mission is to “identify and address societal problems that are created or exacerbated by advances in computer science.” Dr. Hecht is particularly interested in understanding and mitigating the cultural, geographic, and economic biases that are reflected and reinforced by artificial intelligence systems and other computing technologies.
Dr. Hecht received a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree in geography from UC Santa Barbara, and a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and geography from Macalester College. He is the recipient of a CAREER award from the U.S. National Science Foundation and has received awards for his research at top-tier publication venues in human-computer interaction, data science, and geography (e.g. ACM SIGCHI, ACM CSCW, ACM Mobile HCI, AAAI ICWSM, COSIT). At Northwestern, Dr. Hecht holds appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the School of Communication. Dr. Hecht also serves on the Executive Committee of ACM FAT*, the premier publication venue for research on understanding and mitigating societal biases in artificial intelligence systems. Dr. Hecht has collaborated with Google Research, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research, and his work has been featured by The New York Times, the Washington Post, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and various other TV, radio, and Internet outlets.