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Machine Learning News

September, 2016
Rob Kass to receive the Maurice Falk Professorship

William F. Eddy recently received the Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research by the board of trustees at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Joint Statistical Meeting. Eddy was honored for “serving as a model statistician engaged in cross-disciplinary research, including his pioneering work at the interface of statistics and computing, his research over several decades on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data, his contributions to the analysis of census data and statistics in forensic science, and especially for introducing hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students to cross-disciplinary research outside the classroom.” A lifetime national associate of the National Academy of Sciences, Eddy is CMU’s John C. Warner Professor of Statistics, emeritus.

The Siebel Scholars Foundation, a program recognizing exceptional students in the world's leading graduate schools of business, computer science, bioengineering and energy science, has named Jingkun Gao, ML Alum to the 2017 class of Siebel Scholars.

August, 2016
MLD, LTI Paper Named ACL 2016 Outstanding Long Paper

July, 2016
CMU Team to receive "Test of Time" Award at KDD 2016.

June, 2016
Qualcomm Neurohackathon Winners

Rob Kass Co-Authors 10 Simple Rules To Use Statistics Effectively

White House includes CMU Forensic Science Work on Impact List

May, 2016
Larry Wasserman elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Acclaimed Carnegie Mellon University statistician Larry Wasserman has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. NAS membership is one of the highest honors a scientist can receive. Read more

Drew Bagnell receives the CMU William H. and Frances S. Ryan Sward for Meritorious Teaching.

April, 2016
Tom Mitchell, the Fredkin University Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Mitchell founded the world's first Machine Learning Department at CMU's School of Computer Science and led the department until earlier this year. His research focuses on statistical learning algorithms for understanding natural language text and on understanding how the human brain represents information. His work has been featured in The New York Times and on CBS's "60 Minutes." Read more

Best paper award at RECOMB 2016
Paper 'Shall we dense? Comparing design strategies for time series expression experiments', authors Emre Sefer and Ziv Bar-Joseph, won the 'Best Paper Award' in the '20th International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB)'. RECOMB is one of the two most important conferences in the general area of computational biology. The journal version of the paper has been published in the Journal Cell Systems. Link to the paper abstract

March, 2016
Manuela Veloso , the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Computer Science is named the new head of the Machine Learning Department.
Renowned computer scientist for her work in artificial intelligence and robotics, Veloso will succeed Tom Mitchell, El. Fredkin University Professor and the founding head of the Machine Learning Department. Read more

February, 2016
Ruslan Salakhutdinov joins the Machine Learning Department as Associate Professor.
His primary interests lie in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and large-scale optimization. His main research goal is to understand the computational and statistical principles required for discovering structure in large amounts of data. Read more

January, 2016
Professor Eric Xing has been elected as a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)
Read more

Matt Gormley joins Machine Learning as Assistant Teaching Professor
Matt Gormley is the first teaching faculty in the Machine Learning (ML) Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Matt's research focuses on machine learning for natural language processing. His interests include global optimization, learning under approximations, hybrids of graphical models and neural networks, and applications where supervised resources are scarce.

December, 2015
What makes Paris look like Paris? On the cover of December's Communications of the ACM
Carl Doersch, a Ph.D. student in machine learning, and his CMU colleagues developed visual data mining software that can detect sometimes subtle features, such as street signs, streetlamps and balcony railings, that give cities a distinctive look. Read more

October, 2015
CRT 2015 Lagrange Prize is awarded to ML Alum, Professor Jure Leskovec
Read more

New Boeing/Carnegie Mellon Aerospace Data Analytics Lab
This is a new academic research initiative that will leverage the university's leadership in machine learning, language technologies and data analytics. Jaime Carbonell, the Allen Newell University Professor of Computer Science and director of the Language Technologies Institute, will lead the new research endeavor. Read more

September, 2015
Machine Learning Faculty present at the World Economic Forum Conference in China
Faculty presenting from the Machine Learning Department were Tom Mitchell, Daniel Neill and Aarti Singh at IdeasLab on the use of machine learning to improve health. Read more

CMU lead team wins "Test of Time" award at ECML/PKDD
"Realistic, Mathematically Tractable Graph Generation and Evolution, Using Kronecker Multiplication," Jure Leskovec, Deepayan Chakrabarti, Jon M. Kleinberg, Christos Faloutsos Read more

August, 2015
ML Team brings home a Best Student Paper Award from KDD 2015
"Who supported Obama in 2012? Ecological inference through distribution regression"
Seth Flaxman, Yu-Xiang Wang and Alex Smola, won a Best Student Paper Award at the KDD 2015 Conference in Sydney Australia.

Manuela Veloso, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Computer Science, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Oct. 14-16 in Houston. Read more

July, 2015
Neuroscience-based Algorithms Make for Better Networks
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have, for the first time, determined the rate at which the developing brain eliminates unneeded connections between neurons during early childhood. The findings, published in PLOS Computational Biology, are the latest in a series of studies being conducted in Carnegie Mellon’s Systems Biology Group, lead by Ziv Bar-Joseph, to develop computational tools for understanding complex biological systems while applying those insights to improve computer algorithms. Read more

IJCAI 2015 Distinguished Paper Award
"Bayesian Active Learning for Posterior Estimation" (Authors: Kirthevasan Kandasamy, Jeff Schneider, and Barnabas Poczos) Read more

May, 1015
New $20M National Center for Forensic Science Launched
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded a five-year, up to $20 million grant to establish a Forensic Science Center of Excellence. Based at Iowa State University, it will include researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Stephen Fienberg; the University of California, Irvine; and the University of Virginia. Read more

March, 2015
CMU, Pitt and UPMC have forged an alliance that will revolutionize health care and jumpstart regional economic development
The Center for Machine Learning and Health (CMLH) at CMU is one of two centers being launched under the umbrella of the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance. The CMLH will be led by founding director Eric Xing, who was awarded an IBM Open Collaboration Research Award in 2012, to develop novel ways to use big data to search for associations between genetic variations and traits such as major diseases. Read more

Professor Christos Faloutsos
recently delivered a tutorial on machine learning at CMU-Q. Faloutsos was in Doha to speak at the annual Machine Learning and Data Analytics Symposium, which was organized by Boeing and Qatar Computing Research Institute, a member of Qatar Foundation. Also among the invited speakers were CMU alumni Polo Chau, assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Rich Caruana, senior researcher at Microsoft Research.

January, 2015
An overview article on the parallels between biological and computational systems by Ziv Bar-Joseph, associate professor of computational biology, and Saket Navlakha, a former post-doctoral researcher in the Machine Learning Department who is now an assistant professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, is featured on the cover of January’s Communications of the ACM. Read more

December, 2014
Brain Scan Analysis of Potter Readers Yields Computational Model of Reading

Leila Wehbe, a Ph.D. student in the Machine Learning Department, and Tom Mitchell, the department head, report in the online journal PLOS ONE, the model predicted fMRI activity for novel text passages with sufficient accuracy to tell which of two different passages a person was reading with 74 percent accuracy. Read more

August, 2014
Stephen E. Fienberg
, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, represented Carnegie Mellon University on a panel of science experts for a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing that considered the federal government's role in research and development, and the nation's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and outreach initiatives. Read more

July, 2014
Test of Time Paper Award of SIGIR 2014
Cheng Zhai, William Cohen, and John Lafferty won a SIGIR Test of Time Award for their SIGIR 2003 paper "Beyond Independent Relevance: Methods and Evaluation Metrics for Subtopic
.  At the time the paper was written, Cheng was a recent LTI graduate, and William and John were faculty in the Language Technologies Institute and the Center for Automated Learning and Discovery (now the Machine Learning Department).

The paper introduced the idea that a search topic may be composed of many related subtopics, thus a good search engine should select documents that cover as many of the subtopics as possible.  It presented new document ranking algorithms, and new metrics for measuring the effectiveness of a ranking algorithm at covering a set of subtopics.  Although the algorithms and metrics were superseded by newer algorithms and metrics, the idea that a good ranking should cover the latent subtopics as well as the broader search topic became an established element of search engine design and information retrieval research.

This is the first year that the SIGIR conference has awarded Test of Time Awards.  In this first year, it considered papers from the years 2002 to 2004, selecting Zhai, et al., as the winner.  Three other papers received Honorable Mention.  All four papers will be reprinted in a forthcoming issue of SIGIR Forum.

Stephen E. Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, will testify today (Thursday, July 17) before the U.S. Senate on how the federal government can strengthen its research portfolio and capitalize on research and development (R&D) investments. Fienberg served as a member of the National Research Council's (NRC) Committee on Assessing the Value of Research in Advancing National Goals. The NRC is the operating division of the National Academies — the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. Fienberg will share highlights of the committee's report, "Furthering America's Research Enterprise." He will outline the committee's findings on how scientific research impacts society and how all efforts should best be measured for accountability. "If we cultivate talent, provide adequate and dependable resources, and invest in a diversity of basic research, fresh discoveries will continue to power our economy and to enrich our lives in unpredictable and unimaginable ways," Fienberg said. Read the full committee report.

Rob Kass details how Statisticians are imperative to advance Federal BRAIN Initiative. In response to calls from the National Science Foundation and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the ASA asked Kass, professor of statistics and machine learning and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), to lead the working group in detailing the ways statisticians can contribute to this important new federal initiative. The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) aims to produce a sophisticated understanding of the link between brain and behavior and to uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders. Kass and the committee contend that meeting those complex challenges will require "scientific and technological paradigms that incorporate novel statistical methods for data acquisition and analysis." Read more

Business Insider has named Reid Simmons, a research professor in the Robotics Institute, among the 15 most important people working in robotics today. Business Insider cites Simmons for helping to build navigation software for NASA and for his work in building "social robots", such as Tank the "roboceptionist," and Victor, the trash-talking Scrabble-playing robot. See more from Business Insider.

As a recipient of a 2014 Yahoo Faculty Research and Engagement Program (FREP) Award, Computer Science Professor Christos Faloutsos will lead an effort to spot fraudsters who buy followers, pay others to post content and otherwise manipulate trending topics and user popularity on the Tumblr microblogging site. FREP supports Internet research studies and experiments between academics and their counterparts at Yahoo. In their FREP project, Faloutsos and Alex Beutel, a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department, will collaborate with Alejandro Jaimes, director of research at Yahoo, who leads teams in Barcelona, Bangalore and New York City. Faloutsos said the team hopes to show that it can spot fraudster behavior using a set of algorithms developed by Beutel. These algorithms are excellent in spotting lock-step behavior of the kind exhibited by Tumblr fraudsters, who usually have lots of fake accounts that all like the same posts, follow the same customers and use similar IP addresses, often within the same day. Learn more.

Drew Bagnell, associate professor of robotics, is among the latest recipients of the Okawa Research Grant, which is awarded by the Okawa Foundation for Information and Telecommunications. The grants sponsor research in the United States, China, Japan and Korea in eight topic areas pertaining to information and telecommunications. Bagnell’s grant will help fund his work in machine learning for intelligent robotics. CMU recipients in recent years have included Siddhartha Srinivasa, associate professor of robotics; Seyoung Kim, assistant professor in the Lane Center for Computational Biology; and Adrien Treuille, assistant professor of robotics and computer science.

Carl Doersch, a Ph.D. student in the Machine Learning Department, is the recipient of a 2014 Google Ph.D. Fellowship. The Google Ph.D. Fellowship program supports Ph.D. students in computer science or closely related fields and reflects Google’s commitment to building strong relations with the global academic community. Now in its sixth year, the program covers North America, Europe, China, India and Australia. The two-year fellowship includes tuition and fees and a yearly stipend. Doersch will use the Google Fellowship to support his research in applying data mining techniques to images, which will help us better understand and organize the petabytes of visual data on the Web.

Abhinav Gupta, assistant research professor in the Robotics Institute, is the recipient of a Bosch Young Faculty Fellowship to support his research on computer vision and large-scale visual learning. The fellowship, which includes a $45,000 gift for the first year, is renewable for up to three years. Gupta, who came to the Robotics Institute in 2009 as a post-doctoral researcher and joined the faculty in 2011, leads the Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL) project. The computer program constantly searches the Web for images, doing its best to identify objects and characterize scenes on its own. As NEIL builds a massive visual database, it also gains common sense as it makes associations between the information it gleans from the images. CNN named NEIL one of the Top 10 Ideas of 2013.  Gupta earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering in 2004 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Maryland in 2009.

June, 2014

Eric P. Xing, professor of machine learning, and Bin Zhao, a Ph.D. student in the Machine Learning Department, will presented their work on LiveLight at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Example videos and summaries are available online, and a demonstration video is available below. Called LiveLight, this method constantly evaluates action in the video, looking for visual novelty and ignoring repetitive or eventless sequences, to create a summary that enables a viewer to get the gist of what happened. What it produces is a miniature video trailer. Although not yet comparable to a professionally edited video, it can help people quickly review a long video of an event, a security camera feed, or video from a police cruiser’s windshield camera.

Emma Brunskill, assistant professor of computer science, is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the agency’s most prestigious award for junior faculty. The five-year, $670,000 award will support her research on data-driven, machine learning algorithms for automatically constructing personalized strategies. Brunskill will use these methods to help create self-improving tutoring systems that provide individualized learning experiences, focusing on mathematics education.  Brunskill joined the faculty of the Computer Science Department in 2011 and received a 2012 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, which recognizes pioneering young academic computer scientists. She was selected as a 2012-2013 Wimmer Faculty Fellow by CMU's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Her research has been recognized with best paper nominations from the Educational Data Mining (EDM) and Computer Human Interaction (CHI) conferences, and her work has received financial support from the Institute for Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, Google, Yahoo, and the university's Berkman Faculty Development Fund. Brunskill received a bachelor's degree in computer engineering and physics at the University of Washington and, as a Rhodes Scholar, was awarded a master's degree in neuroscience at Oxford University. She earned a Ph.D. in computer science at MIT and was a NSF Mathematical Sciences postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, before coming to Carnegie Mellon.

Anind K. Dey has been appointed the new Charles M. Geschke Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII), where he has been a faculty member since 2005. Dey succeeds Justine Cassell, who has assumed the position of associate vice provost of technology strategy and impact for the university; she remains on the HCII faculty. In his research, Dey uses sensors and mobile technology to develop tools and techniques for understanding and modeling human behavior, primarily within the domains of health, automotive, sustainability and education. His projects have included dwellSense, which used sensors to monitor daily activities of older people to detect physical or cognitive decline; using computer vision and other tools to detect behavior disorders such as autism; and automobile navigation systems that adapt to an individual's preferences, as well as systems that convey navigation information through the steering wheel via haptic feedback. Learn more.

"Robogenesis," the latest novel from Robotics Institute Ph.D. alumnus Daniel H. Wilson, has received rave reviews, with The New York Times describing it as "ingenious" and the Wall Street Journal pronouncing it "scarier than 'Jaws.'" The book, a sequel to Wilson’s bestselling "Robopocalypse," was published June 10 by Doubleday. Robogenesis continues the story of a war between humans and robots. The robots were seemingly vanquished and the artificial intelligence directing the attack, Archos, apparently destroyed at the end of the previous novel. But the new book reveals the fragmented remnants of Archos regrouping and mounting a new war against humans. Stephen King promises that Robogenesis is "terrific, page-turning fun" and DreamWorks reportedly is continuing plans for a movie of Robopocalypse, directed by Steven Spielberg. Wilson has authored numerous books, beginning with "How to Survive a Robot Uprising" while still a Ph.D. candidate, and has hosted a History Channel series, "The Works."

April, 2014
Professor Christos Faloutsos gave a keynote address at the 23rd International World Wide Web Conference this week in Seoul, South Korea. The title of his talk was “Large Graph Mining: Patterns, Cascades, Fraud Detection, and Algorithms.” The WWW conference series is the premier conference  on research and development on Web technologies and the Web "ecosystem."

March, 2014

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has announced that Aarti Singh, assistant professor of machine learning, is one of 42 scientists selected this year to receive research funding for three years through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP). The YIP is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received a Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. Singh’s research proposal was “Compressive and Adaptive Measurement Design for Inference Problems in Multi-Attribute Large-Scale Graphs.” Last year, Singh was the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Singh earned a bachelor's degree in electronics and communication engineering from the University of Delhi in 2001, and master's and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003 and 2008, respectively. Prior to joining CMU's Machine Learning Department in 2009, she was a postdoctoral research associate at the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. Learn more about the research grants.

Recipient of this year's Graduate Student Teaching Award is Skyler Speakman, Ph.D. candidate in information systems at Heinz College with a focus on applying pattern detection algorithms to public policy issues such as disease surveillance. He received a master’s degree in machine learning from CMU in 2013. Speakman has been involved with mathematics and statistics secondary education for over 10 years.  Last fall he was the head instructor for Heinz College's Statistics for IT Managers course, and during the past three summers has taught an algebra refresher course for students with conditional acceptances into Heinz College. Speakman was awarded Heinz College's Teaching Assistant of the Year (2012) Award for his communication skills, knowledge and enthusiasm in the classroom. Additional courses he has taught at Carnegie Mellon include Empirical Methods for Policy and Management, Large Scale Data Analysis and Data Mining.

February, 2014
Kumar Avinava Dubey, a Ph.D. student in the Machine Learning Department, has been awarded an IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award for the 2014-15 academic year.

The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards Program is an intensely competitive worldwide program, which honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. Dubey’s research interests include statistical machine learning, non-parametric Bayesian methods, information retrieval and clustering. Fellows receive a stipend for one academic year. They also are matched with an IBM mentor according to their technical interests, and are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one internship at IBM while completing their studies.

Dubey earned a master’s degree in computer science at IIT Bombay and was a researcher for IBM Research India from 2009-2011, before coming to CMU as a Ph.D. student. His faculty adviser is Eric Xing, associate professor of machine learning, language technologies and computer science.

January, 2014

Stephen Fienberg, the Maurice Faulk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, has been named to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) newly created National Commission on Forensic Science. The commission is part of a new initiative to strengthen and enhance the practice of forensic science and is made up of 30 members who were chosen from a pool of 300 forensic service practitioners, academic researchers, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Fienberg will be the commission's only statistician. The members will create guidelines concerning the intersections between forensic science and the criminal justice system and develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Attorney General, including uniform codes for professional responsibility and requirements for formal training and certification. Read more.

Fienberg also is the editor of the "Annual Review of Statistics and its Application," one of the newest journals published by Annual Reviews. In the first volume, he wrote an essay titled "What is Statistics?" He traces statistics as a discipline from the mid 17th century through the present and evaluates the future of the field and the role of applications in it. Read his essay and the entire first volume of the new journal at

Assistant Professor Aarti Singh has been awarded an endowed chair reserved for faculty members who show exceptional promise in the early stages of their careers. Singh, an assistant professor in the Machine Learning Department who joined the CMU faculty in 2009, will hold the A. Nico Habermann Chair of Computer Science. Singh’s research focuses on how to extract meaningful information from datasets that are both massive in size and plagued by noise, missing values and inconsistencies, while balancing the competing goals of computational efficiency and optimal accuracy. She is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and is lead investigator for an NSF Big Data grant.

September, 2013
Christos Faloutsos
quoted in the Boston Globe as websites try to thwart false customer ratings. Read more

March, 2013
Christopher Warren, Mike Finegold and Cosma Shalizi have teamed up with Georgetown University’s Daniel Shore for the project “Six Degrees of Francis Bacon.” In the project — which has been supported by a Google Faculty Research Award — Warren, Finegold, Shalizi and Shore will combine technology and text to digitally reconstruct the early modern social network so that scholars and students all over the world will be able to collaborate, revise, curate and critique. Warren is an assistant professor of English, Finegold is a visiting assistant professor of statistics and Shalizi is an associate professor of statistics. Read more at

November, 2012

Assistant Professor Barnabás Poczós has been named the winner of a Yahoo! Academic Career Enhancement (ACE) award.  This award is presented to top young faculty members in Yahoo!-relevant academic areas, and provides an unrestricted gift of $10,000 to support the faculty's research.

Alum, Rayid Ghani mentioned in NY Times article as Chief Scientist for the Obama campaign. Project Dreamcatcher - How cutting edge text analytics helped the Obama campaign determine voters' hopes and fears.
Read NY Times article
Read more

October, 2012

Best Paper Award at CIKM'12
Gelling, and Melting, Large Graphs by Edge Manipulation

Hanghang Tong, B. Aditya Prakash, Tina Eliassi-Rad, Michalis Faloutsos and Christos Faloutsos.

William F. Eddy
the John C. Warner Professor of Statistics, has chosen to accept Emeritus status. Since joining Carnegie Mellon in 1976, Eddy has worked in a variety of disciplines, with research covering theoretical probability, statistics and applied problems. His research has focused on the data generated by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a technique used by cognitive neuroscientists to chart brain activity. A distinguished scholar, Eddy has published more than 100 research papers and authored or edited 20 books and monographs. Eddy will be honored at a reception at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2 in the Newell Simon Hall Atrium.

On Oct. 23, Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane,
the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, emeritus, was named Statistician of the Year by the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association for his outstanding contributions to the field of statistics.

NSF Big Data Initiative Awards

The National Science Foundation, with support from the National Institutes of Health, awarded two grants totaling more than $1.7 million to Carnegie Mellon researchers to support new big data research projects on Oct. 3.

Christos Faloutsos, a professor in the Machine Learning Department, received an $894,892 award to develop theory and algorithms to tackle the complexity of language processing, and to develop methods that approximate how the human brain works in processing language.  Faloutsos' co-principal investigator is Professor Tom Mitchell of Machine Learning.

Aarti Singh, assistant professor in Machine Learning, was awarded $820,000 to develop new statistical and algorithmic machine learning approaches that would benefit the fields of physics, psychology, economics, epidemiology, medicine, and social network analysis. Singh's co-PIs are Timothy Verstynen, assistant professor of psychology in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and Barnabás Póczos, assistant professor in machine learning. Read the NSF announcement.

Paper highlighted in Journal of the American Statistical Association (JASA)
Qirong Ho, Ankur Parikh and Eric Xing of the Machine Learning Department propose “A Multiscale Community Blockmodel for Network Exploration” that allows investigators to infer these phenomena from a set of observed network interactions. Ho et al. develop a stochastic model for partitioning the units in the network, say species, in a hierarchically organized tree. Each species’ interactions are governed by a multiscale membership vector that describes the species likelihood of interacting with species at different levels of the hierarchical tree.

Finally, a probability model that links the hierarchical tree and the membership vectors to observed network connections can be used to infer the parameters of the model. The authors demonstrate the approach on a network describing the predator-prey relationships among a collection of 75 species of grass-feeding wasps and their parasites.

August, 2012

Manuela Veloso, the Herbert A. Simon professor, was recently profiled in Wired Magazine as the "World's Most Wired Robot Master" for her CoBots (short for "collaborative robot"). Veloso aims to make robots that can anticipate and handle physical unknowns. Obstacle avoidance may not seem very glamorous at first glance — most people want their robots to shoot lasers or cry "danger!" — but it's a linchpin of real-world robotics and one of Veloso's key areas of focus. Read the article.

What Makes Paris Look Like Paris? CMU Software Uncovers Stylistic Core
Paris is one of those cities that has a look all its own, something that goes beyond landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and INRIA/Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris have developed visual data mining software that can automatically detect these sometimes subtle features, such as street signs, streetlamps and balcony railings, that give Paris and other cities a distinctive look.

Our data mining technique was able to go through millions of image patches automatically — something that no human would be patient enough to do," said Alexei Efros, who collaborated with colleagues including Abhinav Gupta, assistant research professor of robotics, and Carl Doersch, a Ph.D. student in the Machine Learning Department. Read More

June, 2012

Associate Professor, Eric Xing to direct dual-degree Computer Science Masters program with Tsinghua Universities. Read more

May, 2012

Christos Faloutsos
receives honorary degree from The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the largest university in Greece. The title of Doctor Honoris Causa was conferred to Faloutsos during a May 30 convocation, one of a number of events this month that mark the 20th anniversary of Aristotle University's Department of Informatics. Read the full story.

Emma Brunskill
is announced a Wimmer Faculty Fellow. The Eberly Center for Teaching recently announced its 2012-2013 Wimmer Faculty Fellows. Made possible by a grant from the Wimmer Family Foundation, the awards are designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work designing or re-designing a course, innovating new materials or exploring a new pedagogical approach. Fellows work in close collaboration with Eberly Center colleagues and receive a stipend to acknowledge the work it takes to improve one's effectiveness as an educator.

Emma Brunskill, assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, is one of seven recipients this year of a prestigious Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, which recognizes pioneering young academic researchers working in key areas of computer science. Read more

Jaime Carbonell,
Allen Newell Professor of Computer Science and director of the Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science, has received the elite distinction of University Professor, the highest academic accolade a faculty member can achieve at Carnegie Mellon. Read more

Joseph B. Kadane, Professor of Statistics Emeritus, authors "Principles of Uncertainty". The book represents Kadane's legacy and explains Bayesian Statistics. Read more

April, 2012

John Lafferty & alum, Risi Imre Kondor to receive the ICML Test of Time Award for their paper "Diffusion Kernels on Graphs and Other Discrete Input Spaces". ICML 2002: 315-322. To be presented at the ICML 2012 Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Luis von Ahn to receive Grace Hopper Award from ACM. The award recognizes Outstanding Young Computer Professional of the Year. Read more

Carlos Guestrin, Associate professor in the machine learning & computer science departments, along with Seth Goldstein in the computer science department have created Flashgroup, a startup featuring new technology. Flashgroup allows people who couldn't ordinarily find each other to connect in real time — then disband just as easily when the 'flash' is over. Read more

Eric Xing, Associate professor of machine learning, has been awarded an IBM Open Collaboration Research (OCR) Award to develop novel and scalable ways to use very large data sets to search for associations between genetic variants and traits such as major diseases. Xing will receive $300,000 over two years for his project, “Scalable Genome-wide Association Studies: Towards a pipeline for large-scale personal genomics.” The OCR is the highest research award given by IBM to university faculty. Read more.

Pegasus graph mining system developed by SCS PhD Students, U. Kang and Polo Chau, is chosen by Microsoft to be included in their 'hadoop' distribution. Pegasus has already received two Best Paper Awards, and an Open Source Software Award and is capable of analyzing huge, disk-resident graphs and social networks.Both students are advised by Christos Faloutsos.

Roger Dannenberg, Associate Research Professor will direct the Federation of Laptop Orchestras' (FLO) multi-city "collective improvisation" from LSU in Baton Rouge. Read more.

March, 2012

New research from Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just provides an explanation for some of autism's mysteries, giving scientists clear targets for developing intervention and treatment therapies. Read more.

Stephen Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, has received a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)-Census Bureau Research Network for a project on "Data Integration, Online Data Collection and Privacy Protection for the 2020 Census." Fienberg and his team will conduct research on three basic issues of interest related to collecting census data: privacy, costs and response rates. They will address the practical problems of ensuring confidentiality and privacy while still producing useful statistics for public and private purposes. Read more.

Carnegie Mellon Performs First Large-Scale Analysis Of “Soft” Censorship of Social Media in China. The study by Noah Smith, associate professor in the Language Technologies Institute (LTI); David Bamman, a Ph.D. student in LTI; and Brendan O’Connor, a Ph.D. student in the Machine Learning Department, appears in the March issue of First Monday, a peer-reviewed, online journal. Read more.

February, 2012

Ziv Bar-Joseph, associate professor of computational biology and machine learning, and graduate student Guy Zinman are among the authors of a paper in the journal Nature that for the first time links overexpression of a gene called sirtuin 6 to increased life span in mammals, specifically mice. Researchers who study aging have been intrigued by the large family of sirtuin genes and their proteins ever since they were linked to longevity in yeast.

Prof. Christos Faloutsos will be awarded an honorary Ph.D. degree by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The ceremony will take place in June 2012, in Thessaloniki.

FAWM (February Album Writing Month) Founder, Burr Settles mixes song writing and machine learning. The premise of the project is this: You sign up and create a profile at the FAWM website, Then, during the month of February, your goal is to write 14 songs. You record and share them on the website, and give and receive feedback with other participants ("fawmers"). Read more

January, 2012

Tom Mitchell, Department Head of Machine Learning and Manuela Veloso will be among the presenters at the World Economic Forum, Jan. 25-29 in Davos, Switzerland. The WEF is a prestigious independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political and academic leaders to shape global, regional and industrial agendas.  Read more

Noah Smith, associate professor in the Language Technologies Institute, has been awarded a three-year Finmeccanica Career Development Chair. His research interests include statistical natural language processing, especially unsupervised methods, machine learning for structured data and applications of natural language processing. An endowment by the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica funds two chairs that support outstanding young faculty members in the School of Computer Science. The other chair is currently held by Alexei Efros, associate professor of Computer Science and Robotics.

Robert F. Murphy, director of the Ray and Stephanie Lane Center for Computational Biology, will lead a multidisciplinary team of researchers that will collaborate with scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine and Yale University. The ultimate dream, Murphy said, is to develop what Ion Torrent Founder and CEO Jonathan M. Rothberg dubbed "doctor in a box," software. Doctor-in-a-box would take a patient's DNA sequence and use it to diagnose disease, identify a patient's susceptibility to disease, and predict which therapies might be most effective or cause the fewest side effects. Read more

December, 2011

Robert F. Murphy, director of the Ray and Stephanie Lane Center for Computational Biology, has been appointed to the National Institutes of Health Council of Councils. See CMU's announcement.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has named Manuela Veloso, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, as an Einstein Chair Professor for 2012. She is one of 20 prominent international scientists so honored. As an Einstein Chair Professor, Veloso will present a lecture at the University of Science and Technology of China, a national research university in Hefei, China, and at another Chinese university. For more information, see CMU’s announcement.

November, 2011

Ramayya Krishnan, Heinz College Dean, related faculty in the Machine Learning Dept., has received the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Information Systems Society Distinguished Fellow Award in recognition of his intellectual contributions to the information systems discipline. His current research projects investigate risk management in business process design and in information security, social network analysis in settings ranging from call data records to knowledge sharing communities, consumer behavior in e-business settings, and the design of policies that take into account the competing needs of promoting data access and protecting privacy.

October, 2011

Ann Lee, Associate Professor in Statistics & Co-Director of the Machine Learning graduate programs, is awarded the Estella Loomis McCandless Career Development Chair.

July, 2011

ISMB Best Paper Award in Translational Bioinformatics
Ankur Parikh,
W. Wu, R. Curtis and E. P. Xing for " TREEGL: Reverse Engineering Tree-evolving Gene Networks Underlying Developing Biological Lineages".

Leila Wehbe and Alona Fyshe, PhD candidates in the Machine Learning Department are among the inaugural recipients of Rothberg Research Awards in Human Brain Imaging. They will use their share of the $100,000 prize to use machine learning, fMRI and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to model the neural processing of a word to understand how it is affected by semantic context. For more information, see CMU’s announcement.

June, 2011

Alumnus Daniel Wilson's first novel, "ROBOPOCALYPSE," has been released. Wilson's seventh book tells the story of a group of people trying to survive after technology has turned against them.
Read more:

ICML 2011 Best Paper Award
Kevin Waugh, Brian Ziebart and Drew Bagnell for "Computational Rationalization: The Inverse Equilibrium Problem".

ICML 2011 Test of Time Award for the 10 Year Best Paper
John Lafferty ,
Andrew McCallum, and Fernando C. N. Pereira, "Conditional Random Fields: Probabilistic Models for Segmenting and Labeling Sequence Data".

May, 2011

SCS team won the best application paper award at PAKDD 2011
"Spectral Analysis for Billion Scale Graphs: Discoveries and Implementation" by U Kang, Brendan Meeder and Christos Faloutsos, PAKDD'11, Shenzhen China. The paper shows how to do accurate spectral analysis on large graphs using 'hadoop', and showed how to use the results for anomaly detection. PAKDD is one of the top data mining conferences.

Professor Avrim Blum will be awarded the Herbert A. Simon Award for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science at the SCS Diploma Ceremony.

Jiashun Jin, Associate Professor of Statistics, has received a fellowship with the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS). IMS selects fellows to honor outstanding research and personal contributions that keep IMS in a leading role in the field of statistics and probability. Jin's current research is in large-scale inference and massive-data analysis, which are frequently found in many scientific areas, such as genomics, astronomy, functional magnetic resonance imaging and image processing.

April, 2011

Professor William Cohen has been elected the next President of the International Machine Learning Society. The IMLS is the professional society that organizes the annual International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML).

Polo Chau speaks out on graph mining and fraud detection in an invited article in ACM Crossroads, explaining how his work can help spot fraudsters.

NDSEG Fellowship awarded to Carl Doersch, ML PhD student working with Alyosha Efros.

Daniel Neill, Assistant Professor, Heinz School and Machine Learning Dept. and Alumni, Jure Leskovec named "10 to Watch" by IEEE Intelligent Systems magazine, which recognizes 10 outstanding young researchers in AI.

NSF Fellowship awarded to Ankur Parikh, ML PhD student working with Eric Xing.

March, 2011

IBM Fellowship awarded to Xi Chen, ML PhD student working with Jaime Carbonell.

February, 2011

Open House for Accepted PhD Students

January, 2011

Manuela Veloso and Larry Wasserman have been elected 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows for their distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. They will be honored at the AAAS Fellows Forum, Feb. 19 at the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Read more

Noah Smith Receives NSF CAREER Award
The National Science Foundation has awarded Noah A. Smith, assistant professor in the Language Technologies Institute and Machine Learning Department, a five-year, $550,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to study flexible statistical learning algorithms for natural language processing. Smith's research focuses on computational models of human language: formal aspects, learning such models from data, and applying them to problems like translation and social media analysis.

Fruit Fly Nervous System Provides New Solution To Fundamental Computer Network Problem
Ziv Bar-Joseph is working on a biologically derived method that could help organize wireless sensor networks. The fruit fly has evolved a method for arranging the tiny, hair-like structures it uses to feel and hear the world that's so efficient a team of scientists in Israel and at Carnegie Mellon University says it could be used to more effectively deploy wireless sensor networks and other distributed computing applications. News Release

Burr Settles,
a post-doctoral fellow in the Machine Learning Department, has developed Titular and LyriCloud, two online creativity tools for songwriters. Titular suggests song titles, while LyriCloud makes lyrical suggestions based on words selected by the user. The motivation for Settles to create Titular and LyriCloud last year was February Album Writing Month (FAWM,, an international songwriting event that he helped launch in 2004. FAWM challenges participants ("fawmers") to compose 14 new works of music — roughly an album's worth — in only 28 days. Last year, 4,000 people registered for FAWM and generated more than 10,000 new songs. Titular and LyriCloud, along with tools related to song structure and plot lines, were made available on the FAWM website to help participants in achieving their 14-song goals. Read more:

Michael J. Tarr, co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), has received a professorship for his contributions to further understanding the brain and mind. Tarr was named the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Cognitve Neuroscience. Tarr studies the neural, cognitive and computational mechanisms underlying visual perception and cognition. He is particularly interested in how we effortlessly learn, remember, and visually identify both human faces and objects, as well as how these mechanisms of vision interact with our other senses, thoughts and emotions. See CMU's announcement.

September, 2010

ML and CS Professor Christos Faloutsos and his brothers, Michalis (University of California-Riverside) and Petros (UCLA), were honored with the Test of Time Award for their 1999 paper, "On the Power Law Relationships of the Internet Topology" by SIGCOMM, the premier computer communications conference. News Release

August, 2010

Save The Census: ML and Statistics Professor, Stephen E. Fienberg warns that demographic data provided is too valuable to lose. For the full news release visit

July, 2010

Best Research Paper: Innovative Contribution at KDD-2010 goes to, "Connecting the Dots between News Articles" by Dafna Shahf and Carlos Guestrin. Congratulations!

Recognized Finalist goes to "Discriminative Topic Modeling based on Manifold Learning" by Stephen E. Fienberg and Seungil Huh. Congratulations!

Computer Science and ML Professor, Christos Faloutsos will receive the 2010 Innovation Award from the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD) at the KDD 2010 international conference July 25-28 in Washington, DC. Faloutsos' cross-disciplinary works on power-law graphs, fractal-based analysis, time series, multimedia and spatial indexing is among the most referenced in industry and academic publications. He and his students also have devised software for identifying accomplices on Internet auction sites that help others perpetrate fraud.

Best Paper Award at
PAKDD 2010 goes to "OddBall: Spotting Anomalies in Weighted Graphs"
by Leman Akoglu, Mary McGlohon and Christos Faloutsos and gives fast algorithms to spot strange nodes in large social networks. PAKDD is one of the top data mining conferences. The paper was selected among 412 submissions, and 42 accepted full-papers.

Machine Learning Best Paper Awards

Best Student Paper (COLT 2010)
"Theoretical Justification of Popular Link Prediction Heuristics"
Purnamrita Sarkar, Deepayan Chakrabarti, Andrew Moore

Best Paper (ICML 2010)
"Hilbert Space Embeddings of Hidden Markov Models"
Le Song, Byron Boots, Sajid Siddiqi, Geoff Gordon, and Alex Smola

Runnerup Best Student Paper (ICML 2010)
"Modeling Interaction via the Principle of Maximum Causal Entropy"
Brian Ziebart, Anind Dey, Drew Bagnell

Manuela Veloso, the Herbert A. Simon Professor in the Computer Science Department, has been elected president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Veloso will be the fourth AAAI president from Carnegie Mellon, following Allen Newell, Raj Reddy and Tom Mitchell.

William F. Eddy, the John C. Warner Professor of Statistics, will complete his second three year term as chairman of the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) at the National Academies on June 30. CNSTAT is an independent and objective resource for evaluating and improving the work of the highly decentralized U.S. federal statistical system. Eddy is the only person to have chaired both statistics committees at the National Academies, having previously been chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics.

May, 2010

Philosophy Professor Richard Scheines has been reappointed head of the Department of Philosophy, a position he has held since 2005. Scheines has been faculty member since 1990 and has additional appointments in ML and HCII. His research focuses on causal discovery, the philosophy of social science and educational technology and online courses.

Noah Smith, an assistant professor of Language Technologies, and his team of researchers found that sentiments expressed in a billion Twitter messages were similar to those of well-established public opinion polls. "With seven million or more messages being tweeted each day, this data stream potentially allows us to take the temperature of the population very quickly," Smith said. "The results are noisy, as are the results of polls. Opinion pollsters have learned to compensate for these distortions, while we're still trying to identify and understand the noise in our data. Given that, I'm excited that we get any signal at all from social media that correlates with the polls." For more on the research, which will be presented May 25 at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence's International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media in Washington, DC, visit