Professor Shai Ben-David has been appointed a University Research Chair in recognition of his outstanding contributions to machine learning theory, logic, the theory of distributed computation and complexity theory. This prestigious title may be held for up to seven years and is conferred to recognize the exceptional achievements of Waterloo faculty members and to acknowledge their pre-eminence in a field of knowledge.
“Shai is respected internationally for his research on machine learning theory,” said Mark Giesbrecht, Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science. “Among his notable contributions are the pioneering steps he developed to analyze domain adaptation, learnability of real valued functions and change detection in streaming data. More recently, Shai has made groundbreaking contributions to unsupervised learning, clustering and the mathematical underpinnings of statistical machine learning.”
The most fundamental question in unsupervised machine learning concerns what reliable conclusions about an unknown data distribution can be made from finite samples drawn from that distribution. The two major directions of research on this topic are the complexity of finding a good approximation to the unknown distribution under some prior knowledge about that distribution, and what questions about the distribution can be answered without any such assumptions. In both areas, Professor Ben-David has conducted internationally recognized research.