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Tuesday, October 15, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Annenberg 105

IST Lunch Bunch

Series: IST Lunch Bunch
Measuring Economic Development from Space
Stefano Ermon, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Stanford University,
Speaker's Bio:
Stefano Ermon is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the CS Department at Stanford University, where he is affiliated with the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and a fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment. His research is centered on techniques for probabilistic modeling of data, inference, and optimization, and is motivated by a range of applications, in particular ones in the emerging field of computational sustainability. He has won several awards, including four Best Paper Awards (AAAI, UAI and CP), a NSF Career Award, ONR and AFOSR Young Investigator Awards, a Sony Faculty Innovation Award, an AWS Machine Learning Award, a Hellman Faculty Fellowship, Microsoft Research Fellowship, and the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award. Stefano earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Cornell University in 2015.

Recent technological developments are creating new spatio-temporal data streams that contain a wealth of information relevant to sustainable development goals. Modern AI techniques have the potential to yield accurate, inexpensive, and highly scalable models to inform research and policy. A key challenge, however, is the lack of large quantities of labeled data that often characterize successful machine learning applications. In this talk, I will present new approaches for learning useful spatio-temporal models in contexts where labeled training data is scarce or not available at all. I will show applications to predict and map poverty in developing countries, monitor  agricultural productivity and food security outcomes, and map infrastructure access in Africa. Finally, I will discuss opportunities and challenges for using these predictions to support decision making, including techniques calibration and for inferring human preferences from data.

For more information, please contact Diane Goodfellow by email at