Leilani Gilpin




Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

PhD Candidate, 2nd Year



Novato, California

Undergraduate institution

UC San Diego, Master’s from Stanford University

What sparked your interest in your current field, and what do you love about it?

Unlike most computer scientists, I started programming very late. I took my first programming class at 19, and I was shocked to see how powerful programming could be. As I got more advanced in my programming knowledge, and my mathematical expertise, I really saw a powerful ability to implement algorithms.

Personal research summary

I’m currently working on a providing understandable explanations from machine output. The idea is to have machines be able to explain themselves; a computer could provide a coherent debugging statement, and an automobile could provide true evidence of the faults in an accident. We are developing the technology to produce concise, understandable symbolic explanations of actions of machines with many (possibly autonomous parts). We are currently focusing on the individual components of an automobile, but this work could be applied to many other complex systems, including computers and other machinery.

Personal interests

In my spare time, I enjoy Polynesian dancing, swimming, hiking, and knitting.