Samory Kpotufe

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Associate Professor, Department of Statistics, Columbia University

Research Interests

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I work in statistical machine learning, with an emphasis on common nonparametric methods (e.g., kNN, trees, kernel averaging). I’m particularly interested in adaptivity, i.e., how to automatically leverage beneficial aspects of data as opposed to designing specifically for each scenario. This involves characterizing apparent statistical limits, under modern computational and data constraints, and identifying favorable aspects of data that help circumvent these limits.

Some specific interests: notions of intrinsic data dimension, benefits (or lack thereof) of sparse or manifold representations; performance limits and adaptivity in active learning, transfer and multi-task learning as they appear in classification, regression, and bandits problems; hyperparameter-tuning and guarantees in density-based clustering.

Professional Activities

  • Program co-Chair: COLT (2021).

  • Associate Editor: SIAM Mathematics of Data Science (2021 to present).

  • Action Editor: Journal of Machine Learning Research (2020 to present).

  • Publication Chair: ICML (2020)

  • Advisory Committee on Equality and Diversity: Institute of Mathematical Statistics (2020).

  • Editorial Board: Journal of Machine Learning Research (2014 to 2018).

  • Senior Area Chair: NeurIPS (2021, 22).

  • Area Chair: ICML (2019), NeurIPS (2015, 16, 18, 19), COLT (2015, 16, 17), ALT (2018, 2020), AISTATS (2017, 18, 19).

  • Reviewing: JMLR, Machine Learning, IEEE Info Theory, IEEE TPAMI, AoS, ESAIM Probability and Statistics, Bernouilli, Biometrika, NeurIPS, SODA, COLT, ICML, AAAI …

Short bio

I graduated (Sept 2010) in Computer Science at the University of California, San Diego, advised by Sanjoy Dasgupta. I then was a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. At the MPI I worked in the department of Bernhard Schoelkopf, in the learning theory group of Ulrike von Luxburg. Following this, I spent a couple years as an Assistant Research Professor at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago. I then spent 4 years at ORFE, Princeton University as an Assistant Professor. Recently I was a visiting member at the Institute of Advanced Study from January to July 2020.