Benefunder Partnership Aims to Boost Computer Science Developments into the Market

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December 16, 2014
In an effort to bring promising research advances in computing to market, Benefunder, a philanthropic organization that works with wealth management firms to connect donors with leading researchers across the nation, has established a partnership with ICSI.

Under the new partnership, scientists from ICSI, a leading nonprofit center for computer science research, will have access to Benefunder's unique funding platform. ICSI is renowned for innovation in computer networking, speech and language processing, bioinformatics, brain networks, computer vision, audio and multimedia analysis, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

"Through ICSI's established, interdisciplinary research activities, this partnership will help turn discoveries into real products and services that will impact our daily lives," said Gert Lanckriet, Academic Ambassador and cofounder of Benefunder. "By facilitating philanthropic funding for these particular research areas, as well as many others on our platform, Benefunder will play a leading role in closing the nation's innovation deficit, giving the economy and humanity a big boost."

ICSI researchers who have already joined Benefunder are working on an array of projects, such as enhancing speech recognition technologies. For example, Steven Wegmann, director of ICSI's Speech Research, is using statistical models to make speech recognition more accessible to the general public.  ICSI's Director Emeritus of Speech Nelson Morgan is also working to increase the function of speech recognition systems, especially for those who need to use hands-free devices for medical reasons. Morgan is also developing a portal and associated tools to reduce the influence of money on politics. Improving speech recognition technologies will open a window of opportunities for those who have difficulty interacting with computers, such as the elderly, the physically disabled, the hearing impaired, and the vision impaired, in addition to helping improve literacy and accessibility to information via talking rather than typing.

"Benefunder and ICSI have a common goal – accelerating discovery and innovation in computing to benefit society," said ICSI Director Deborah Crawford. "The Benefunder platform matches individuals with a personal commitment to helping strengthen our nation's innovation capacity with our best and brightest researchers.  Through philanthropic giving, committed individuals can support advances in computing, help train future generations of innovators, and contribute to economic and societal wellbeing."

About Benefunder:

Benefunder, a 501(c)3 corporation, is a philanthropic organization that works with wealth management firms to connect donors with leading researchers across the nation.  Through its Charitable Innovation Fund, Benefunder combines the disciplines of wealth management with philanthropic giving for the benefit of innovation across all fields of study, from healthcare and life sciences to advanced technologies, the environment, and the arts and humanities. 

Benefunder is working to reduce the nation's innovation deficit, stimulate the economy, and accelerate the rate and frequency of breakthroughs in discoveries and cures.

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