Zico Kolter, an associate professor in the Computer Science Department (CSD), and Ioannis Gkioulekas, an assistant professor in the Robotics Institute, are among 126 early career researchers to receive 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships.
The prestigious fellowships honor outstanding scholars in the U.S. and Canada in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics.
"To receive a Sloan Research Fellowship is to be told by your fellow scientists that you stand out among your peers," said Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "A Sloan Research Fellow is someone whose drive, creativity and insight make them a researcher to watch."
Kolter, who joined Carnegie Mellon University in 2012, is a leading expert in artificial intelligence research. He develops methods that make machine learning more robust, interpretable and modular. He also has worked on applications for smart energy and sustainability solutions. In addition to his full-time post in CSD, Kolter is chief scientist of AI research for the Bosch Center for AI, working out of its Pittsburgh office.
"Zico is one of the top machine learning researchers of his generation," said Ariel Procaccia, the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University, who nominated Kolter for the fellowship. "He's made fundamental contributions to deep learning, computational sustainability and robotics. He has an amazing ability to put theoretical insights into practice, often building on his absolute mastery of optimization." Procaccia received a Sloan fellowship while a CSD faculty member in 2015.
Gkioulekas, who joined CMU in 2017, is a leading researcher in computational imaging, computer vision and computer graphics. Most recently, he has focused on non-line-of-sight imaging. In this emerging field, researchers reconstruct images from scattered light, enabling them to see objects not normally visible because they are located around corners or behind gauzy filters. He also is part of a National Science Foundation Expeditions in Computing program to develop special cameras that can see through skin to diagnose and monitor health conditions at a cellular scale.
"Ioannis is redefining the concept of a camera by creating breakthroughs in inverse algorithms applied to non-line-of-sight imaging and imaging below the skin," said Srinivasa Narasimhan, interim director of the Robotics Institute, who nominated Gkioulekas for the fellowship.
Nearly a thousand researchers are nominated each year for 126 Sloan fellowship slots. Winners receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship that can be spent to advance their research. To date, 60 CMU faculty members have received Sloan fellowships since they were first awarded in 1955.