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Amazon Fellows and faculty-led projects advance innovations in machine learning and artificial intelligence – Virginia Tech Daily

11 Oct 2022
Amazon Fellows left to right: Ph.D. students Qing Guo and Yi Zeng
The Amazon–Virginia Tech Initiative for Efficient and Robust Machine Learning has announced support for two Amazon Fellows and four innovative research projects led by Virginia Tech faculty that further the initiative’s mission of advancing new directions in machine learning.
Funded by Amazon, housed in the College of Engineering, and directed by researchers at the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg and at the Innovation Campus in Alexandria, the initiative was launched in March to support student and faculty-led development and implementation of innovative approaches to robust machine learning — such as ensuring that algorithms and models are resistant to errors and adversaries — that could address worldwide industry-focused problems.
An open call for student fellowship nominations and research projects went out concurrently across the Virginia Tech campuses. The initiative’s advisory committee, comprised of Virginia Tech faculty and Amazon researchers, selected two Amazon Fellows from among 11 nominations and four faculty award recipients from 14 submissions. 
“Our inaugural cohort of fellows and faculty-led projects showcases the breadth of machine learning research happening at Virginia Tech,” said Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering and director of the Amazon-Virginia Tech Initiative. “The areas represented include federated learning, meta-learning, leakage from machine learning models, and conversational interfaces.
“This research will not only contribute to new algorithmic advances, but also study issues pertaining to practical and safe deployment of machine learning,” said Ramakrishnan who also directs the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. “We are very excited that the partnership between Amazon and Virginia Tech has enabled these projects.”
"The talent and depth of scientific knowledge at Virginia Tech is reflected in the high-quality research proposals and Ph.D. student fellowship applications we have received,” said Prem Natarajan, vice president of Alexa AI. “I am excited about the new insights and advances in robust machine learning that will result from the work of the faculty and students who are contributing to this initiative."
The Amazon Fellows are:
Head shots of faculty leading Amazon-funded research projects
Principal investigators and co-principal investigators, respectively, for funded projects are:
Lindsey Haugh

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