In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan welcomes Kristian Lum to the podcast. Lum is part of the research faculty at the University of Pennsylvania's CIS Department. Previously, she was Lead Statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), where she led the project on criminal justice in the United States. She's widely known for her work on algorithmic fairness and predictive policing and is a key organizer of the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (ACM FAccT).
Lum discusses her transition from math and statistics into computer science, and how her lab work in bioinformatics expanded her interest into social issues. They touch on the sensitive nature of data and privacy and gray areas in criminal justice data collection. Lum mentions some applications of her work, advising the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and partnering with the ACLU. She also describes a very timely project accounting for the time lag between COVID-19 infection and death. Finally, she traces her winding, fascinating career path from academic to industry and back.