Computer Science Faculty Interested in Real-World Impacts of Research

A few months into her position as assistant professor of computer science at Loyola Marymount University, Mandy Korpusik is teaching computer science for majors and nonmajors, enjoying her students and experiencing “overflowing office hours.”

“When I visited the LMU campus, I was sold on the location,” said Korpusik. “My background is very much aligned with LMU, its values and its people. I went to Catholic schools in the Bay area, so LMU feels like coming home.”

Korpusik’s areas of expertise include artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and spoken dialogue systems. She’s very interested in applying research to areas where she can see its real-world impacts and is thinking of how she can commercialize research by partnering with businesses or creating entrepreneurial opportunities.

Korpusik earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, and her master’s and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

For her doctorate at MIT, she developed a spoken dialogue system that she hopes to enhance. The iOS app, called Coco Nutritionist, is a conversational calorie counter that allows users to describe what they ate naturally to make it easy for them to assess what they’re eating. Users tap the microphone on their smartphone or text a description of what they’re eating, and the app automatically retrieves the pertinent nutritional data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Korpusik envisions incorporating dialogue between user and machine. For example, a user might ask if spinach or kale has more iron, or when a user logs having milk, the machine might ask for the percentage of fat in the milk.

“A personal digital nutritionist” is her vision. “I have food allergies myself, so I’m always thinking about food. But I want to expand beyond nutrition to other areas of health,” said Korpusik.

She is also interested in designing new classes for students at LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, including one in natural language processing.

Outside of teaching and research, Korpusik pursues her passions for music and sport. A classically-trained pianist, she plays at home and is looking for a piano to practice on at campus. She also swam for her high school team and played tennis and soccer. In her off hours, you might find her swimming at the beach or in LMU’s pool.