The computer science department has appointed seven new faculty members as part of a consolidation, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences announced on Monday.
New faculty members will join the SEAS campus in Allston between January 2022 and September 2023 to strengthen Harvard’s work on ’emerging frontiers’ in computing, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum engineering and data science.
“The additions will strengthen and diversify research, teaching and scholarship in Harvard’s highly interdisciplinary curriculum,” the SEAS statement said.
IT chairman Eddie Kohler said the new appointments were not part of a coordinated effort per se, but the additional expertise in AI and machine learning will drive Harvard’s exploration of emerging areas in computer science. .
“[The new appointments] are just an impressive bunch of individuals in different regions all coming in close proximity to each other, ”he said. “We believe that together they will really help bring the latest research in AI and ML to Harvard students and help Harvard have a wider impact in the field.”
SEAS had already announced the hiring of a member of the cluster, Fernanda Viégas, in November 2020. Viegas, who will join the department in spring 2022, previously worked at Google, where she co-led the “People + AI Research” initiative of the company.
Another faculty member, Yannai A. Gonczarowski, spent six years at Google as a software engineer and joined this fall as an assistant professor in computer science and economics.
Gonczarowski, who both holds a doctorate. in Mathematics and Computer Science and an M.Sc. in Classical Singing from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focuses his research on the interplay between economics, computer science and game theory.
Sham Kakade, a machine learning expert at the University of Washington, will begin in January 2022 as Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science with a joint appointment to the Department of Statistics.
“We can really push forward some more interesting AI-related goals, because at the end of the day the world is a pretty exciting place right now,” he said.
Anurag Anshu, who is currently a postdoctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, also joins in January as an assistant professor. Anshu, who works in quantum computing, will be an addition to Harvard’s new program in quantum science and engineering, announced by SEAS in April.
Anshu said he believed Harvard “appreciates the depth of quantum computing – they appreciate the theory behind it.”
The other two new nominations, Sitan Chen and David Alvarez-Melis, also do theoretical and applied machine learning research, respectively.
Like Anshu, Chen, who will come to Harvard in the fall of 2023 as an assistant professor, is also a postdoctoral student at Berkeley. His work focuses on the intersection of machine learning and theoretical computing.
Alvarez-Melis, who specializes in Applied Machine Learning, will join both the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics departments. His job is to make machine learning more relevant to the natural and medical sciences, among other applications with more limited data.
Jonathan Frankle, who recently completed his doctorate. at MIT, will also join as an assistant professor of computer science from fall 2023. Frankle is working on understanding the behavior of neural networks, which he says are “a hot thing in computing these days” .
Frankle said his new job at Harvard had special significance after his past rejections from Harvard.
“Harvard has rejected me three times now at different points in my career – for undergraduate and twice for graduate, so it’s good to have the final say on this,” Frankle said.
Frankle added that he was delighted to join Harvard to do research in a young but rapidly developing field which he recognizes to be “a great area of interest”.
“I want everyone to know that a lot of exciting people are coming to join us, exciting people are already there, and we hope to build something really great,” he said.