Gautam Kamath among eight Canada CIFAR AI Chairs named Vector Institute Faculty Member
Research allows important insights to be obtained from data while preserving privacy of sensitive personal information
Research allows important insights to be obtained from data while preserving privacy of sensitive personal informationBy Joe Petrik Cheriton School of Computer Science
Cheriton School of Computer Science Professor Gautam Kamath has been named a Canada CIFAR AI Chair and a Vector Institute Faculty Member in recognition of his contributions to differential privacy, machine learning and statistics. He is among eight outstanding researchers in the latest cohort of Canada CIFAR AI Chairs to receive this prestigious national recognition.
“Congratulations to Gautam on becoming a faculty member of the Vector Institute and on being named a Canada CIFAR AI Chair,” said Raouf Boutaba, professor and director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science. “Gautam’s research focuses on developing solutions for trustworthy and reliable machine learning and statistics. The fundamental work he and his students conduct is critically important as it allows useful insights to be drawn from data while preserving privacy of sensitive personal information.”
These recent appointments bring the number of Canada CIFAR AI Chairs to 126, continuing to grow Canada’s robust artificial intelligence research ecosystem and advancing Canada’s global leadership in artificial intelligence.
“Canada’s AI ecosystem has grown tremendously since the launch of the Pan‐Canadian AI Strategy six years ago,” notes Elissa Strome, executive director of Pan‐Canadian AI Strategy at CIFAR, in a media release issued today. “Central to the strategy has been the recruitment and retention of excellent researchers at Canada’s three national AI institutes, who in turn attract next‐generation talent as well as commercial investments in this globally in‐demand field. We’re excited about the contributions of these new and renewed chairs, who will continue to advance Canada’s global leadership in AI, a technology that when used responsibly holds terrific potential to address some of humanity’s greatest challenges.”
“Attracting world-class AI talent to Canada is a top priority at Vector," said Melissa Judd, vice-president of Research Operations and Academic Partnerships at the Vector Institute. "The calibre of the three newly appointed CIFAR Chairs from Vector, including Gautam Kamath, speaks to the efforts of institutions like the University of Waterloo to give researchers an environment in which they can take their work to the next level. Vector is proud of its partnership with the University of Waterloo and the University's dedication to both elevating existing AI researchers and growing the next generation of top AI talent in Ontario.”
Kamath is an assistant professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science in the Faculty of Mathematics. He obtained his PhD and SM degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He leads The Salon, a research group of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergrads who study statistics, algorithms, machine learning, and optimization.
Statistics and machine learning are being used ever more commonly in a variety of disciplines from the physical and social sciences to the humanities, at scales from small groups to entire populations, across sectors as diverse as government, finance and health. The data on which statistics and machine learning techniques are applied often is both sensitive and confidential and, as such, can attract the attention of malicious individuals and groups.
The demands of modern data analysis — most notably guaranteeing data privacy — quite simply were not envisioned when classical statistical methods were developed. In fact, if statistical techniques are applied without consideration for privacy, information can be leaked about the data, and in extreme cases even actual data points themselves upon which the statistical estimations are based.
Kamath’s research revitalizes the toolkits needed in the modern data era, addressing fundamental problems in the realms of robustness and data privacy, by developing guarantees for trustworthy and reliable machine learning and statistics. He and his students have made seminal and significant contributions to both areas — in the theoretical foundations of data privacy as well as in its practical applications — initiating broad new research fields, and contributing core components to deployments that touch the sensitive personal information of hundreds of millions of individuals.
The Pan‐Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy at CIFAR drives cutting‐edge research, trains the next generation of diverse AI leaders, and fosters cross‐sectoral collaboration for innovation, commercialization and responsible AI adoption. Its three national AI institutes — Amii in Edmonton, Mila in Montréal, and the Vector Institute in Toronto — are the vibrant central hubs of Canada’s thriving AI ecosystem. Funded by the Government of Canada, the Pan‐Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy at CIFAR builds a dynamic, representative, and rich community of world‐leading researchers who are creating transformative, responsible AI solutions for people and the planet.
Known as CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research is a Canadian‐based global research organization that convenes extraordinary minds to address the most important questions facing science and humanity. CIFAR is supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within our Office of Indigenous Relations.