Department welcomes Soheil Feizi as an assistant professor

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On July 1st 2018, the Department of Computer Science welcomed Soheil Feizi as an assistant professor with specializations in machine learning and statistical inference.  He also has an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). Professor Feizi comes to the Department from Stanford University where he was a post-doctoral research scholar. He received a Ph.D. (2016) and M.Sc. (2010) in computer science with a minor in Mathematics from MIT. 

Professor Feizi was kind enough to answer a few interview questions as he starts his first full year as a professor.

What will your research focus be once you get here? How does it differ from your current work (if it does)?

Broadly speaking, my research focuses on understanding various theoretical and practical aspects of machine learning and statistical inference problems. In particular, I am keen to understand the robustness (and in hindsight, the sensitivity) of modern learning methods with respect to the learning architecture and model complexity, noise (either random or adversarial) and the amount of training data. Understanding these aspects of learning methods can help us in interpreting their inference results too.

What courses will you be teaching in Fall 2018? 

In the Fall of 2018, I am teaching CMSC 726 (the graduate-level Machine Learning course). My goal is to start with classical methods and foundations and then build upon them towards more sophisticated learning approaches. This course will be a mix of both theory and practice. In particular, at the end of each lecture, I am going to demonstrate materials of that lecture in action using computer simulations.

What drew you to University of Maryland? What, if anything, was the deciding factor for you?

One of the main factors was UMD’s world-class faculty in CS and across other departments. I have already discussed several collaboration areas with UMD faculty and I am looking forward to more collaborations in the future. In addition to that, the building blocks of any academic research group are the students. From my interactions with UMD’s students, I know that they are motivated and hardworking, and I am excited to work with them in the years to come.

What is one thing you'd like to accomplish in the next year? Personal or academic?

In terms of the research, my goal is to establish my lab and hire good and motivated students. In terms of the teaching, my goal is to make students (with different academic backgrounds) be excited and also expert in modern machine learning.

Professor Feizi's website:

The Department welcomes comments, suggestions and corrections.  Send email to editor [at] cs [dot] umd [dot] edu.