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CS professor to serve on executive committee of new IDEAL Institute

Assistant Professor Elena Zheleva has been named a co-principal investigator of a multidisciplinary team that is part of a new data science institute, funded by a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Institute for Data, Econometrics, Algorithms, and Learning (IDEAL) is a multi-organization and transdisciplinary institute. IDEAL is led by the University of Illinois Chicago, in collaboration with Northwestern University; Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago; the University of Chicago; and Illinois Institute of Technology, and in partnership with the Learning Theory team at Google.

“It is really exciting to establish a collaborative data science institute across the city of Chicago,” Zheleva said. “There is a lot of data science expertise at UIC and the other participating institutions and bringing them together can turn Chicago into a major data science hub.”

More than 60 researchers will be working on key aspects of the foundations of data science across computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, statistics, and fields such as economics, operations research, and law. According to IDEAL, “research will center around the foundations of machine learning, high-dimensional data analysis and inference, and data science and society. Topics include foundations of deep learning, reinforcement learning, machine learning and logic, network inference, high-dimensional data analysis, trustworthiness and reliability, fairness, and data science with strategic agents.”

The institute will support the study of foundational problems related to machine learning, high-dimensional data analysis and inference, and data science and society.

“As a member of the executive committee of the Institute, one of my responsibilities is to serve as the industry coordinator, and I am responsible for all the engagement with industry,” Zheleva said.  “These duties include organizing an Industry Affiliates Day, and coordinating activities with different industry partners.”

IDEAL aims to broaden participation in data science, help develop future workforce members and connect with the local community through lectures at high schools, exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry, and teacher workshops. UIC students will have access to research assistantships, postdoctoral fellowships, courses, workshops, and seminars.

The PI for UIC is Lev Reyzin, professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science. Other UIC co-PIs include Natasha Devroye, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Will Perkins, assistant professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science; and Yichao Wu, the TransUnion Professor based in the department of mathematics, statistics and computer science. Other computer science faculty involved in the Institute are Ian Kash, Xiaorui Sun, Anastasios Sidiropoulos, and Xinhua Zhang.