A Data Science Central Community
Posted in 2012. Still very interesting. A group of high-profile faculty recruits promise to make the University of Washington a leading institution for machine learning and the analysis of “big data.” Machine learning is an emerging area at the intersection of computer science and statistics, with wide application in science, industry, business, social sciences and medicine.
The UW’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering this spring recruited machine learning experts Carlos Guestrin, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and Ben Taskar, an associate professor at University of Pennsylvania, as well as data visualization expert Jeffrey Heer, currently an assistant professor at Stanford University.
Emily Fox, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will join the UW’s Department of Statistics and will have an adjunct faculty appointment in Computer Science & Engineering.
“This changes the national landscape for machine learning,” said Hank Levy, chair of UW Computer Science & Engineering. “These incredible senior and junior faculty will put us in a whole new league in this pivotal area of computer science research.”
Guestrin and Fox are being hired with the help of a $2 million endowment from Amazon.com that established two Amazon Professorships in Machine Learning.
The modern world is awash in digital information. The quantity of this information is growing exponentially – the proliferation of digital databases, tiny sensors and widespread genetic sequencing will increasingly create more data than anybody can comprehend.
The emerging science of machine learning uses computers to automatically analyze the data, identify complex trends and then apply them to completely new situations.
The applications range from astronomy to zoology. Machine learning can analyze terabytes of data generated from computer simulations; place and monitor environmental sensors in forests or the ocean floor; pinpoint relationships between people’s DNA, their environment and their illnesses; and plan routes in real time for robots, airplanes or driverless cars.
In addition to machine learning and statistics, the incoming faculty members bring complementary expertise in data visualization, which helps humans to interact with and interpret complex data.
The new faculty members will work closely with the UW’s eScience Institute, which supports data-intensive research. They also will collaborate with current UW faculty who work in machine learning, data analysis, and computer vision.
“These senior hires are not just leaders in machine learning and data visualization – these are some of the top computer scientists of the past decade,” Levy said. “They could have gone anywhere. We’re excited that they recognized our department and region as one of the best places in the world to do this type of work.”
Guestrin and Fox will start this fall; Heer and Taksar will join the UW in 2013.
For more information, contact Levy at 206-543-9204 or [email protected].