Directory

Poojah Agarwal
Post-doctoral Fellow
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Rod Albuyeh
Lecturer

Albuyeh is Principal Data Scientist at Figure and part-time lecturer at the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at UC San Diego.  He received his Ph.D. in Political Science at USC in 2016.  His specialties lie in anomaly detection for tabular time-series data and machine learning systems–with applications in marketing, fraud, and credit risk.  He is also interested in applying enterprise machine learning approaches to solve problems in the social sciences.

Research Interests: Machine Learning, Deployment, Scalable Systems

Categories: Faculty, Lecturers
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Ilkay Altintas
Chief Data Science Officer, HDSI Founding Faculty Fellow
CHIEF DATA SCIENCE OFFICER, SDSC

Ilkay Altintas is a Fellow of Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI) as well as San Diego Supercomputer Center’s Chief Data Science Officer. She has played a huge role in the stewardship of HDSI cyberinfrastructure (CI) resources and services.

She will continue to work with UC San Diego faculty, industry partners, and students at all levels. In addition to her CDSO responsibilities at SDSC, an Organized Research Unit of UC San Diego, Altintas is an associate research scientist and director of the Workflows for Data Science (WoRDS) Center of Excellence at SDSC. WoRDS specializes in developing scientific workflows and solution architectures used throughout data and computational science.
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Mikio Aoi
Assistant Professor

Dr. Aoi is a computational neuroscientist interested in studying how populations of neurons coordinate their activity to perform computations. In particular, his interests are in understanding how the dynamics of neural computations impact behavior and in developing principled approaches to data analysis in close collaboration with experimentalists.

Before pursuing an interest in neuroscience he earned a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Long Beach and a PhD in Mathematical Biology from North Carolina State University studying the dynamics of cerebrovascular function in stroke patients.  As postdoctoral associate in the Department of Mathematics at Boston University he developed statistical methods for characterizing rhythmic synchrony in neuronal populations. He then moved to Princeton University, where he continued his postdoctoral training with Jonathan Pillow, developing scalable methods for analyzing high dimensional datasets of neuronal activity in animals performing perceptual decision making tasks.

As a native of Southern California, Dr. Aoi is thrilled to return to California to join the outstanding students and faculty at UCSD in the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute and The Department of Neurobiology – Division of Biology.

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Bijan Arbab
Industry Fellow Intel

Bijan Arbab is the Director of Telemetry and Data Science at Intel Corporation. As an Industry Fellow Dr. Arbab is making impactful contributions to HDSI and the data science community at UC San Diego. In addition to enabling a significant data sharing agreement between Intel and the University that has become the foundation for successful collaborations between faculty and industry practitioners, he is also actively engaged in the mentorship of our data science students through the senior capstone program and undergraduate research projects.

Categories: Industry Fellows
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Ery Arias-Castro
Professor

Ery Arias-Castro received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University in 2004. He then took a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM), where he participated in the program on Multiscale Geometry and Analysis in High Dimensions. After that, he took a postdoctoral position at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), where he participated in the program on  Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Aspects of Image Analysis. He joined the faculty in the mathematics department at UCSD in 2005.  His research interests are in high-dimensional statistics, machine learning, spatial statistics, image processing, and applied probability.

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Vineet Bafna
Professor

Vineet Bafna, Ph.D., is a Bioinformatics researcher and a Professor of Computer Science and the Halicioglou Data Science Institute. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from The Pennsylvania State University in 1994 working on theoretical problems in genome rearrangements. His introduction of the breakpoint graph as an analytical tool has been an important driver of the field. After an NSF-funded postdoctoral research at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, Bafna was a senior investigator at SmithKline Beecham, conducting research on DNA signaling, target discovery, and EST assembly. From 1999 to 2002, he worked at Celera Genomics, ultimately as director of Informatics Research, participating in the assembly and annotation of the human genome. Vineet Bafna’s research focuses on the identification and characterization of complex structural variation in tumor genomes. He has made important contributions in the analysis of breakage fusion bridge cycles and extrachromosomal DNA, in identifying the genetic signals of adaptation, experimental evolution, and proteogenomics. He has co-authored over 150 research articles in the leading journals in the field. He served as co-Director of the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Ph.D. program from 2013 to 19, and was founding faculty of the Halicioglou Data Science Institute at UCSD. He has co-founded two companies: Abterra, LLC, which focuses on services and products relating to proteogenomic data, and Boundless Bio, Inc., which is targeting extrachromosomal DNA in cancer. In 2019, he was selected as a fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology.

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Mikhail Belkin
Professor

Mikhail Belkin received his Ph.D. in 2003 from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Chicago. His research interests are in theory and  applications of machine learning and data analysis. Some of his well-known work includes widely used Laplacian Eigenmaps, Graph Regularization and Manifold Regularization algorithms, which brought ideas from classical differential geometry and spectral analysis to data science. His recent work has been concerned with understanding remarkable mathematical and statistical phenomena observed in deep learning. This empirical evidence necessitated revisiting some of the basic concepts in statistics and optimization.  One of his key recent findings is the “double descent” risk curve that extends the textbook U-shaped bias-variance trade-off curve beyond the point of interpolation.

Mikhail Belkin is a recipient of a NSF Career Award and a number of best paper and other awards. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Machine Learning Research, IEEE Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and SIAM Journal on Mathematics of Data Science.

Post-Doctoral Fellow: Preetum Nakkiran

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Jelena Bradic
Professor

Bradic is an Associate Professor of Statistics, and winner of multiple teaching awards. She directs the Statistical Lab for Learning Large-Scale and Complex Data. Her interests include ensemble learning, robust statistics and survival analysis. Her application areas include gene-knockout experiments, understanding cell cycles, developing new policies or detecting effects of treatments onto survival, Her research also reaches into the area of causal inference and developing new learning algorithms that can make new scientific discoveries but also quantify uncertainty with which these discoveries are being made. Her multidisciplinary expertise in handling data has expanded her research into multidisciplinary fields that include political science, marketing, engineering, public health as well as biomedical sciences.

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Henrik Christensen
Director/CRI

Henrik Christensen is the director of the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute and a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Christensen came to UC San Diego after serving, most recently, as executive director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Christensen was initially trained in mechanical engineering and worked subsequently with MAN/BW Diesel. He earned a master’s and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Aalborg University in Denmark, in 1987 and 1990, respectively.

 

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Alex Cloninger
Assistant Professor

Alex Cloninger is an Assistant Professor in Mathematics and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at UC San Diego. He received his PhD in Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation from the University of Maryland in 2014, and was then an NSF Postdoc and Gibbs Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Yale University until 2017, when he joined UCSD.  Alex researches problems in the area of geometric data analysis and applied harmonic analysis.  He focuses on approaches that model the data as being locally lower dimensional, including data concentrated near manifolds or subspaces.    The techniques developed have led to research in a number of machine learning and statistical algorithms, including deep learning, network analysis, signal processing, and measuring distances between probability distributions.  This has also led to collaborations on problems in several scientific disciplines, including imaging, medicine, and artificial intelligence.

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David Danks

Professor Danks conducts research at the intersection of machine learning, philosophy, and cognitive science. He examines the ethical, psychological, and policy issues around AI and robotics across a range of sectors. He has also developed multiple novel causal discovery algorithms for complex types of observational and experimental data, and has done significant research in computational cognitive science.

Danks received an A.B. in Philosophy from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego. He is the recipient of a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award, as well as an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.

Visit David’s webpage here at: http://www.daviddanks.org

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Virginia de Sa
Professor, HDSI Associate Director Cognitive Science

Associate Director de Sa is a leader in the fields of cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, engineering, and data science. Her research utilizes multiple approaches to increase our understanding of  how humans and machines learn to perceive the world around them.

She earned her Ph.D. and master’s in Computer Science from the University of Rochester, and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Engineering from Canada’s Queen’s University.

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Justin Eldridge
Assistant Teaching Professor

Justin Eldridge is an assistant teaching professor in HDSI. He obtained his PhD in computer science at The Ohio State University as a Presidential Fellow, along with BS degrees in physics and applied math. His research focus lies in statistical machine learning theory, with an emphasis on unsupervised learning and clustering in particular. His research while a PhD student received the best student paper award at COLT 2015 and a full oral presentation at NeurIPS 2016. Justin joined HDSI in 2018, where he develops and teaches courses in both the theoretical and practical foundations of data science and machine learning.

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Shannon Ellis
Assistant Teaching Professor

Shannon Ellis is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Cognitive Science and HDSI at UC San Diego. She obtained her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her primary focus at UC San Diego is to foster and promote data science education. To this end, she teaches undergraduate programming and data science courses and pursues projects that help provide access and educational materials to individuals who have historically lacked access to an education in data science.

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Jeff Elman
Founding Co-Director

Dr. Elman left a legacy from his pioneering work in artificial neural networks, and as an internationally recognized scholar in the field of language processing and learning. His early TRACE model of speech perception, with Jay McClelland, remains one of the major theories in the field. In 1990, he developed the Simple Recurrent Network architecture (the so-called “Elman net”) that is today widely used in many fields to model behaviors that unfold over time. In his last research, he used a wide range of scientific methods, including computational simulations, neuroimaging, and behavioral measures. Elman earned his bachelor’s degree in social relations from Harvard and his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. A member of the UC San Diego faculty since 1977, Elman was a founding member of the Department of Cognitive Science, the first of its kind in the world, as well as founding director of the Center for Research in Language. He was founding co-director of the university’s Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind. He served as dean of the Division of Social Sciences from 2006 – 2014. Among his honors is the prestigious David E. Rumelhart Prize, which he received in 2007 in recognition of his groundbreaking contributions to the theoretical foundations of cognitive science. Elman was elected a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

The Cognitive Society established Jeffrey L. Elman Prize in his honor in 2020.

Categories: In Memoriam
Christian Fowler
Academic Advisor
Categories: HDSI Team, Staff
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James Fowler
Professor
Professor Fowler’s work lies at the intersection of the natural and social sciences, with a focus on social networks, behavior, evolution, politics, genetics, and big data.  He is a founding faculty member of HDSI, and author of the international best-selling book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.
Fowler has been named a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, TechCrunch’s Top 20 Most Innovative People, Politico’s 50 Key Thinkers, Doers, and Dreamers, and Most Original Thinker of the year by The McLaughlin Group.
Categories: Uncategorized
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Aaron Fraenkel
Assistant Teaching Professor

Fraenkel uses machine learning and experimental design to study large-scale abusive behaviors on the internet, particularly events driven by robots (known as bots). Fraenkel’s teaching expertise is in the end-to-end practice of data science, drawing from his industry experience with cybersecurity, anti-fraud, and anti-abuse systems. Fraenkel is one of the leaders developing and teaching the university’s foundational data science curriculum and major program overseen the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute.

Before joining UC San Diego in 2018, Fraenkel worked as a senior scientist at Amazon, with a focus on machine learning. Having worked as a data scientist at work in industry, Fraenkel chose to return to academia and work at the root of instruction, helping shape student learning and critical thinking.

Fraenkel earned a Ph.D. and undergraduate degrees in mathematics from UC Berkeley, and worked in postdoctoral faculty appointments in mathematics at Boston College and Pennsylvania State University. At HDSI, Fraenkel’s curriculum development of the path-breaking data science program includes creating projects using real-world datasets and challenges.

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Rebecca Fraenkel
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Becky Fraenkel received her PhD in Economics from UCSD in 2020. Her research focuses on the provision of local public goods and the effects of environmental pollutants. She studies how these forces shape communities through property taxation, education, housing, and energy generation. Her research uses causal inference and machine learning to answer economic and policy-relevant questions in complex data.

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Yoav Freund
Professor

Freund works on applications of machine learning algorithms in bioinformatics, computer vision, finance, network routing and high-performance computing. His current research focuses on machine learning to develop and analyze adaptive algorithms that change their behavior by learning from examples, rather than by re-programming.

He served as a senior research scientist at Columbia University in computational learning systems, and in machine learning development for AT&T Labs (formerly Bell Labs).

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Whitney Gardner
Financial and Faculty Assistant
Whitney (she/her/hers) joined the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute in February 2020 and is in her current role as the Financial and Faculty Assistant. Whitney received her B.A. in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University. She loves helping others, and enjoys working with faculty and staff members within the growing field of Data Science! Some things she enjoys outside of work are focusing on personal health and wellness, and spending time with family and friends.
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R Stuart Geiger
Assistant Professor

Geiger studies the relationships between science, technology, and society — not only how science and technology have substantial impacts on society, but also how they are social institutions in themselves. They study issues of fairness, accountability, transparency, responsibility, and contestability in machine learning, particularly in online content moderation. They have examined how values and biases are embedded in these technologies and how communities make decisions about how to use or not use them. Geiger also studies the development of data science as an academic and professional field, as well as the sustainability of free/open-source software and scientific cyberinfrastructure projects.

Geiger earned their Ph.D in 2015 at the UC Berkeley School of Information and the Berkeley Center for New Media, then was the staff ethnographer at the UC Berkeley Institute for Data Science. They joined UCSD in 2020, jointly appointed as faculty in the Department of Communication. Geiger is a methodological and disciplinary pluralist who collaborates across many different ways of knowing, but their work is often grounded in the fields of communication & media studies, science & technology studies, cultural anthropology, organizational sociology, human-computer interaction, and history and philosophy of science.

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Avishek Ghosh
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Avishek Ghosh is an HDSI (Data Science) Post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego. Prior to this, he completed his PhD from the Electrical Engg. and Computer Sciences (EECS) department of UC Berkeley, advised by Prof. Kannan Ramchandran and Prof. Aditya Guntuboyina. His research interests are broadly in Theoretical Machine Learning, including Federated Learning and multi-agent Reinforcement/Bandit Learning. In particular, Avishek is interested in theoretically understanding challenges in multi-agent systems, and competition/collaboration across agents. Before coming to Berkeley, Avishek completed his masters degree from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore (in the Electrical Communication Engg. Dept) and prior to that, he completed his  bachelors degree from Jadavpur University, in the dept. of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering.

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Rajesh Gupta
Distinguished Professor, HDSI Founding Director

Professor Gupta’s research interests span topics in embedded and cyber-physical systems with a focus on energy efficiency from algorithms, devices to systems that scale from IC chips, and data centers to built environments such as commercial buildings.

Gupta received a Bachelor of Technology in electrical engineering from IIT Kanpur, India; a Master of Science in EECS from University of California, Berkeley; and a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University, US. Gupta is a Fellow of the IEEE, the ACM and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Categories: Uncategorized
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Brittany Hewitt
Academic Personnel Analyst

Brittany Hewitt is currently our Academic Personnel Analyst for Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI). Prior, Brittany worked as an Academic Personnel Analyst at the Academic Resource Center (ARC), at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Her passion for connectivity and communication gives her the ability to understand organizational needs as well as individual needs and partner with each to meet and exceed their expectations. She prides herself on the ability to establish relationships and communicate effectively and efficiently with all business partners.

Categories: Business Office, Staff
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Kyle Hofer-Mora
Assistant Director for External Relations and Strategic Initiatives

Kyle Hofer-Mora serves as A