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#IAmNYAS: Dmitry Storcheus

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Dmitry Storcheus

Dmitry Storcheus, MS, is an engineer at Google Research NY, where he specializes in the research and implementation of dimensionality reduction.

What initially drew you to the field of machine learning?

I was drawn to the field because of the remarkable power of machine learning tools to learn and forecast patterns in data. I remember an article from 2011 about scientists from Stanford who were able to use machine learning to study breast cancer with their algorithm (called C-Path) using microscopic images. They reported that the algorithm was more accurate than human doctors in predicting survival, which was amazing for me at that time. The success of machine learning combined with its mathematical rigor inspired me to conduct research in this field.

What are some of the biggest challenges in machine learning right now?

The first one is regarding supervised versus unsupervised methods. While unsupervised methods have greater flexibility, the supervised ones can be fine-tuned to achieve better accuracy, so there is a tradeoff. Recently I published a paper coauthored with Mehryar Mohri and Afshin Rostamizadeh that makes a point for using supervised dimensionality reduction, since it has favorable learning guarantees. Particularly, we show that the generalization error of a hypothesis class that includes learning a linear combination of kernels that define projection jointly with a classifier has a favorable bound.

The second challenge is “Can kernel machines match deep neural networks in accuracy?” So far we have seen great progress by wonderful scientists, such as Fei Sha and Le Song, who were able to use kernel approximations to match deep neural networks in accuracy on speech datasets and provide theoretical justification of their results. This work is still in progress, and I think it will be raising widespread discussions in the next couple of years.

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Academy Staff
This article was written by a member of the Academy staff.