Computer science professor receives NSF award for AI that interacts with real world

Dr. Bolei Zhou
Dr. Bolei Zhou
March 13, 2024

by Christine Wei-li Lee |

Bolei Zhou, an assistant professor of computer science at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the agency’s highest honor for faculty members in the early stages of their teaching and research careers. The award includes a five-year, $587,000 grant to support his work in embodied artificial intelligence — AI systems that can interact with the physical world.

Zhou’s research focuses on incorporating human interaction into a machine-learning framework for embodied AI models. Findings from this research will have applications in fields such as autonomous driving, household robots, digital animation and video games. He leads the Zhou Lab at UCLA, which develops machine-learning methods for computer vision — a field of AI that focuses on enabling computers to identify and understand objects and people in images and videos — and machine autonomy. 

The latest grant is also Zhou’s second major funding award from the NSF. Last year, he received a three-year, $960,000 grant to support his research on MetaDriverse, an open-source simulation platform to democratize AI research of autonomous driving. This is Zhou’s second major early-career award since joining UCLA two years ago. In 2023, Zhou received an Intel Rising Star Faculty Award, which recognizes potentially disruptive research and offers awardees an opportunity to collaborate with the global chip manufacturer’s senior technical leadership.

Zhou also holds a faculty appointment in the Computational Medicine Department, which is affiliated with both the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Samueli.


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