The University of Michigan (UM) Computer Science and Engineering department’s works to advance the intersection of programming systems and artificial intelligence (AI). As UiPath provides semantic automation it supports the research of Xinyu Wang, Assistant Professor at UM, who has a goal of building fundamental intelligent programming techniques that are useful in practice.
UiPath explains it has continued democratization of technology as a strategic pillar. Technically oriented business users and power users can design, build, and deploy automations entirely on their own. Stillthere is work to do to make automation available to everyone.
UiPath founder and Co-CEO Daniel Dines, unveiled semantic automation in 2021. He noted that robots already do a lot for workers, but robots still lack the capacity to understand the way humans actually do work everyday.
Through his research and academic teachings, Xinyu Wang, Assistant Professor at UM, has a goal of building fundamental intelligent programming techniques that are useful in practice. This aligns well with our vision of semantic automation.
His recent publications highlight his commitment to democratizing the entire automation space:
WebRobot: Web Robotic Process Automation using Interactive Programming-by-Demonstration, ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI), 2022
SemanticOn: Specifying Content-Based Semantic Conditions for Web Automation Programs, ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), 2022
Dr. Wang outlines his expanded research objectives and goals:
“My research aims to democratize automation such that more and more people around the world can automate their tedious tasks. A specific line of research I’m currently pursuing aims to democratize web automation: a particular kind of automation that involves interactions between two applications, namely a web browser and a spreadsheet. A great example is web scraping which pulls data from websites to a spreadsheet. Another example is data entry, i.e., filling web forms using local data. They involve a lot of manual work, but this work can be easily automated by software robots. The key problem, though, is that none of these users can write automation programs.”
“My approach is based on program synthesis that can automatically generate programs from high-level specifications. In other words, users without any programming background can “write” programs as long as they know how to manually perform their tasks. For example, in the context of web automation, my approach generates web automation programs by observing user interactions with the web browser and the spreadsheet. At a very high level, this can be viewed as an AI-based programming assistant.”
“I believe my research is highly aligned with the UiPath vision of semantic automation, both aiming to democratize automation to a much broader audience through the use of AI. In fact, UiPath and I have been working on overlapping problems and developing complementary techniques, and it makes a lot of sense to join forces going forward.”