New Faculty Member, 2023–24
Assistant Professor, computer science and engineering
From a young age, Ransalu Senanayake, a new assistant professor in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, found himself captivated by the concept of endowing lifeless objects with intelligence.
“I delved into the world of electronic circuits, seeking to automate various tasks,” Senanayake says. “Through my journey in middle and high school, I dedicated countless hours to [my] school’s electronics club, honing my skills and exploring the possibilities of intelligent systems.”
As he progressed, Senanayake realized that to truly unlock the potential of intelligence, he needed to dive into the realm of algorithms. This understanding led him to pursue a doctoral degree in computer science, with a specific focus on robotics and machine learning.
“Witnessing the profound impact that AI has made in the past decade, I stand in awe of its potential, realizing that we have only scratched the surface of what is possible,” Senanayake says. “Each day, I wake up with unwavering enthusiasm, eager to contemplate the ways I can contribute to leveraging AI to enhance human well-being.”
He will start the Laboratory for Learning Evaluation of Autonomous Systems, or LENS Lab at ASU. His group is interested in operationalizing machine learning models in robots and autonomous systems with an objective to develop a range of algorithmic tools for evaluating ML models utilized in such systems.
Senanayake’s focus in the classroom will be on teaching courses centered around machine learning.
“I strongly advocate for project-driven learning as I believe that getting hands-on experience is the most effective way to grasp complex concepts,” he says. “In my classes, students can expect a dynamic learning environment where they are encouraged to venture beyond the curriculum and actively participate in discussions. Being prepared to explore and apply their knowledge beyond the classroom setting will be an integral part of their learning journey.”
Senanayake says he loves exploring and traveling to every continent and experiencing different cultures. He often cooks food from all around the world. He also enjoys reading about history and culture and engages in outreach activities spanning the globe.
“My journey has been one of curiosity, dedication and the unyielding belief in the power of engineered intelligence to make a positive impact on the world,” he says. “I am certain that as we continue to explore the frontiers of AI, our world will be forever transformed, and I am thrilled to be a part of this awe-inspiring evolution.”
Written by Erik Wirtanen