Zhenghui Sha, assistant professor in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, has received research awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to advance his work in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in engineering design. 

Sha’s team was recently awarded  approximately $500,000 by the National Science Foundation to support their research and investigation on the impact of information uncertainty on design rationality under competition among teams and to develop a competition-aware artificial intelligence assistant for future human-AI collaboration in design space exploration. This project, titled “Design Decisions under Competition at the Edge of Bounded Rationality: Quantification, Models, and Experiments,” is a collaborative research project with Dr. Alparslan Emrah Bayrak from the Stevens Institute of Technology. Dr. Bayrak will lead a sub-project from Stevens and collaborate with Dr. Sha from UT Austin to address two fundamental issues in engineering design: design rationality and decision-making under competition. 

Sha and Bayrak also received a $650,000 award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for their proposal entitled “Trust, Rationality, and Robust Decision-making Under Competition in Human-Human and Human-AI Teams”. The goal of this project is to enable intelligent machines to perform as true “teammates,” adapting their behavior to accommodate changes in complex environments, as well as augmenting the performance of human teammates when needed. The objective is to investigate sequential human decisions in competitive teams in the presence of uncertainties due to incomplete and imperfect information.

Sha joined UT Austin in 2021 and is a faculty member with the Center for Additive Manufacturing and Design Innovation. He is also the recipient of the 2022 Young Engineering Award from the Computers and Information in Engineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.