Mayank Kejriwal Recognized for Public Engagement Work

by Greta Harrison

Mayank Kejriwal has received international recognition for his public engagement work from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Image/Mayank Kejriwal

Research assistant professor in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mayank Kejriwal has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science as a finalist in the Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science. Kejriwal is the first USC faculty member to be recognized in the 11-year history of the awards.

The award, international in scope, recognizes early-career scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science activities.

A research lead at the USC Information Sciences Institute, Kejriwal’s work focuses on knowledge graphs, an area of Artificial Intelligence and data analytics research with applications in industry, academia, and for social causes such as fighting human trafficking and mobilizing resources in the aftermath of crises. Knowledge graphs enable machines to retain and “understand” knowledge, rather than just raw data.

Kejriwal, who joined USC in 2016, has built and deployed knowledge graph-based systems that have been used by law enforcement and other experts to fight human trafficking, in addition to tackling other important domains like e-commerce and natural disaster response. His work regularly involves engagement with educational outreach around AI and its social benefits. In 2019 he spoke about his research into fighting human trafficking at the Concordia Summit that was co-held with the UN General Assembly in New York City.

Along with other USC colleagues, Kejriwal has worked with inmates at the Chino Men’s Prison, presenting a hands-on overview of his AI research, in which he promoted online resources for coding skills that may assist inmates with finding employment on release.

He also works with students to promote AI, and was an onsite mentor in the “End Human Trafficking Hackathon,” organized by Cornell Tech in 2017 where students worked in cross-disciplinary groups over a weekend to create solutions to fight human trafficking. These solutions were presented to the District Attorney of New York.

Kejriwal’s recent work includes a study into how secretive offshore networks move money. He is also the co-author of graduate-level textbook on knowledge graphs that was just published by MIT Press. Currently, Kejriwal is a Principal Investigator on ISI’s funded efforts under the DARPA SAIL-ON (Science of Artificial Intelligence and Learning for Open-world Novelty) program and the DARPA Machine Common Sense program.