Colloquium Details

Integrating machine learning into algorithm design

Speaker: Ellen Vitercik, Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Online

Date: March 26, 2021, 9 a.m.

Host: Joan Bruna


Ellen Vitercik is a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University where she is co-advised by Maria-Florina Balcan and Tuomas Sandholm. Her research revolves around artificial intelligence, algorithm design, and the interface between economics and computation, with a particular focus on machine learning theory. Among other honors, she is a recipient of the Exemplary Artificial Intelligence Track Paper Award at EC'19, the Best Presentation by a Student or Postdoctoral Researcher Award at EC'19, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the IBM PhD Fellowship, the Fellowship in Digital Health from CMU's Center for Machine Learning and Health, and the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award from CMU's Machine Learning Department.

Speaker Bio:

An important property of those algorithms that are typically used in practice is broad applicability—the ability to solve problems across diverse domains. However, the default, out-of-the-box performance of these algorithms can be unsatisfactory, with slow runtime, poor solution quality, and even negative long-term social ramifications. In practice, there is often ample data available about the types of problems that an algorithm will be run on, data that can potentially be harnessed to fine-tune the algorithm’s performance. We therefore need principled approaches for using this data to obtain strong application-specific performance guarantees.

In this talk, I will give an overview of my research that provides practical methods built on firm theoretical foundations for incorporating machine learning and optimization into the process of algorithm design, selection, and configuration. I will describe my contributions across several diverse domains, including integer programming, clustering, mechanism design, and computational biology. As I will demonstrate, these seemingly disparate areas are connected by overarching structure that implies broadly-applicable guarantees.

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