Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Disney, Caltech

As many of you know, I was kept quite busy on the faculty job market this past spring, when I spent three months traveling almost non-stop. My time as a postdoc at Carnegie Mellon University was a very stimulating and productive one, but it is now coming to a close. Many thanks to my supervisors, Carlos and Krishnan, as well as all my other colleagues and collaborators. CMU truly is an amazing place with its sheer scale of high-impact research activity.

I'm delighted to announce that I've accepted an assistant professor position in the Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department at the California Institute of Technology.

When visiting Caltech, I was very drawn to the technical rigor as well as the intense interdisciplinary focus that permeate the entire faculty. For instance, I was pleasantly surprised to find common ground with geologists, economists and biologists there.

This interdisciplinary culture is in part due to Caltech's extremely small size (only ~300 faculty total). In fact, I will be one of the very few machine learning researchers at Caltech, and I'm looking forward to interacting and collaborating with a wide range of researchers there.

However, I won't be starting at Caltech just yet. Starting next week, I will be spending one year at Disney Research (and defer my start at Caltech to fall 2014). I'm treating this as an chance to do a pre-sabbatical in industry before starting my tenure-track job.

Disney Research tackles an impressive range of interesting data mining and modeling challenges (including advanced video analysis, data-driven animation and cyber-physical sensor systems), and also currently do not have an overly large machine learning presence. I hope to use this opportunity to find "untouched" ground to push machine learning in new directions that I find interesting.

Finally, I'd like to thank all of my reference letter writers, ThorstenCarlosBobby and Krishnan, for all their support and guidance throughout my job search process. It's been a hectic transitional year for me, and I'm very much looking forward to diving back into research!

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