Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

CICS Researchers Receive Manning/IALS Innovation Award 

Razieh Negin Rahimi
Razieh Negin Rahimi

UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences Professor and Chair of the Faculty James Allan and Postdoctoral Fellow Razieh Negin Rahimi have been selected to receive a 2020 Manning/IALS Innovation Award to develop and explore the commercialization of software tools that explain contradictory information in the healthcare domain. 

According to the researchers, attempts to answer biomedical or health questions (e.g., "Is a treatment effective?") via a search of medical literature often find documents with contradictory claims (e.g., "Masks do not slow the spread of COViD-19." versus "Masks slow the spread of COVD-19."), and recognizing incompatible claims can require substantial additional searching. Importantly, the results of these types of searches frequently lead to decisions about treatment, which means that misinformation or incomplete information can have a real impact on patient outcomes.   

To help searchers validate claims from the vast amount of information available, Allan and Rahimi are developing BioClaim, a software tool that will use machine learning and information retrieval techniques to automatically detect claims in published biomedical literature, recognize claims that contradict each other, and summarize their respective conditions and constraints to relate them. 

The researchers have had preliminary discussions to license BioClaim to AuCoDe, which is led by CICS alumna Shiri Dori-Hacohen '17PhD and has raised over $1M. The Western Massachusetts-based AI startup detects controversies and misinformation online and turns them into actionable intelligence.

The Manning/IALS Innovation Awards aim to turn groundbreaking UMass Amherst research into new products and technologies that can effect change. This year's awardees were selected in a competitive process that narrowed more than 25 teams to six winners. Faculty researchers will receive seed funding of $100,000 each for projects for up to 18 months, as well as business training and mentorship from IALS, the College of Natural Sciences, the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Isenberg School of Management.