Joint Appointments to Bring New Expertise in Machine Learning, Algorithm Design, and Network Design to the Epstein Department

| September 19, 2022

Mahdi Soltanolkotabi, Bistra Dilkina and Vishal Gupta will take up joint appointments in Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC Viterbi.

3 Professors are appointed to ISE

Vishal Gupta, Mahdi Soltanolkotabi, and Bistra Dilkina will take up joint appointments in Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC Viterbi.

The Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering has made joint appointments for three leading USC faculty members, which will boost departmental capacity in critical areas such as machine learning, algorithms and network design. The new appointments are Mahdi Soltanolkotabi from the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bistra Dilkina from the Department of Computer Science and Vishal Gupta from the USC Marshall School of Business.

Soltanolkotabi is an Andrew and Erna Viterbi Early Career Chair and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science. His research is focused on design and mathematical understanding of computationally efficient algorithms for optimization, high dimensional statistics, machine learning, signal processing and computational imaging.

In 2014, Soltanolkotabi earned his PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford University. From 2014 to 1015, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the EECS and Statistics departments at U.C. Berkeley.

“I look forward to collaborating with ISE colleagues. On the theory side I am excited about future collaborations on optimization theory, including building new foundations in nonconvex and minimax settings that arise in modern deep learning,” Soltanolkotabi said, “I also look forward to exploring various new applications including transportation, logistics, and AI for society, which ISE colleagues have unique expertise in.”

Dilkina is an associate professor of computer science at USC, and the co-director of the USC Center for AI in Society (CAIS), which is a joint venture between the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, with the goal of showing how A.I. can be used to tackle the most difficult societal problems. Her work spans discrete optimization, network design, stochastic optimization, and machine learning.

In 2012, Dilkina earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University, and was a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Computational Sustainability until 2013. From 2013 to 2017, Dilkina was an assistant professor in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a co-director of the Data Science for Social Good Atlanta summer program.

Vishal Gupta is an associate professor of data sciences and operations, with a courtesy appointment in Industrial Systems Engineering. He is an affiliate faculty at CAIS. Gupta was awarded the prestigious 2021 Wagner Prize from The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) for creating an A.I. system that helped enable effective COVID testing of visitors to Greece.

Gupta received his B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy at Yale University, and then completed Part III of the Mathematics Tripos at the University of Cambridge. He earned his Ph.D. in Operations Research at M.I.T. in 2014. Gupta’s research broadly focuses on designing algorithms for decision-making under uncertainty.

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with some of Viterbi’s AI researchers. I think there’s a lot of related work being done across fields, and more conversation and collaboration will spur great research. I’m particularly excited about some projects around climate change and urban planning,” said Gupta.

Published on September 19th, 2022

Last updated on November 11th, 2022

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