Society problems

NYU Tandon uses computer models to solve society’s pressing problems

Example of detection output using an NYC traffic camera. The data generated by these cameras was used for a traffic congestion study by NYU Tandon. Photo courtesy of NYU Tandon School of Engineering

NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering at Brooklyn Commons (formerly MetroTech) uses engineering and computer models to solve some of the toughest problems facing American society.

In particular, the school has recently tackled traffic congestion issues, state gun laws, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to generate computer code.

NYU’s Connected Cities for Smart Mobility researchers used a model using existing Department of Transportation camera feeds from more than 700 locations and applied a “deep learning object detection method that allowed researchers to to calculate the densities of pedestrians and traffic without ever having to go out on the streets.”

The system developed by the NYU team can help inform decision-makers’ understanding of a wide range of issues ranging from crisis management responses, such as social distancing behaviors, to traffic congestion, according to NYU Tandon.

With respect to firearms, the NYU Tandon study focuses on state gun laws. “To date, little is known about why some states adopt more restrictive or permissive gun laws than others,” a statement from the researchers read.

The researchers used what are called exponential family random graph models, a class of statistical network models, to identify factors that increase or decrease the likelihood that states will pass permissive or restrictive gun legislation. fire.

“The results show that more progressive state governments are associated with a higher chance of passing restrictive gun laws and a lower chance of passing permissive laws. ‘analogous reverse association,’ explains the NYU Tandon study.

NYU Tandon School of Engineering at 6 MetroTech, Downtown Brooklyn. Wikipedia photo by JGunaratne

While not news, the study also found that the presence of a particular state with a gun law increased the likelihood that a neighboring state would pass a similar law. In some cases, the authors say, lawmakers look to states similar to their own to find effective solutions to an existing problem.

Also, according to NYU Tandon, states where the governor and the majority of the state legislature belong to the same political party are more likely to pass gun legislation, whether pro or con.

When it comes to AI-generated code, researchers from the Tandon-affiliated NYU Center for Cybersecurity explored Copilot, a new tool for coders from GitHub, a Microsoft subsidiary.

The technology, according to Hammond Pearce, assistant research professor at NYU, is capable of generating large amounts of code quickly. “It was only after a few days that[Hammondastartednoticingsomething—theautomatedcodewasintroducingbugsandpotentialsecurityflaws”accordingtotheschool[Hammondbegantonoticesomething—theautomatedcodewasintroducingbugsandpotentialsecurityflaws”accordingtotheschool[Hammondacommencéàremarquerquelquechose-lecodeautomatiséintroduisaitdesboguesetdesfaillesdesécuritépotentielles”selonl’école[Hammondbegantonoticesomething—theautomatedcodewasintroducingbugsandpotentialsecurityflaws”accordingtotheschool

What he and his fellow researchers found, according to NYU Tandon, is that of the 1,692 programs they generated for Copilot, 40% were compromised in some way.

“Sometimes it would spit code from the 90s or early 2000s, old by the standards of a young domain, and no longer used due to known security threats,” according to NYU Tandon. “These errors are all potential infiltration points for hackers and bad actors, potentially exposing things like passwords and other vital data.”

Although NYU Tandon’s statement does not specify whether there was a response from Microsoft, it does indicate that the researchers continued to use Copilot, despite the flaws. Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, said: “I had forgotten how painful it was to write everything by hand.”