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Machine Learning & Optimisation: Promise and Power of Data-driven, Automated Algorithm Design

Holger Hoos ( University of British Columbia )

Computational tools are transforming the way we live, work and interact; they also hold the key for meeting many of the challenges that we face as individuals, communities and societies. Machine learning and optimisation techniques play a particularly important  role in this context, and cleverly combined, they can revolutionise the way we solve challenging computational problems - as I will demonstrate in this talk, using examples from mixed integer programming, planning and propositional satisfiability, as well as from prominent supervised machine learning tasks. The fundamental techniques I will cover include automated algorithm selection, configuration and hyperparameter optimisation, as well as performance prediction and Bayesian optimisation. I will also motivate and explain the Programming by Optimisation paradigm for automated algorithm design, which further extends the reach of those techniques.

Speaker bio

Holger H. Hoos is a Professor for Computer Science and a Faculty Associate at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia (Canada). His main research interests span empirical algorithmics, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics and computer music. He is known for his work on the automated design of high-performance algorithms and on stochastic local search methods. Holger is a co-author of the book "Stochastic Local Search: Foundations and Applications", and his research has been published in numerous book chapters, journals, and at major conferences in artificial intelligence, operations research, molecular biology and computer music. He is a past president of the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association / Association pour l'intelligence artificielle au Canada (CAIAC) and Associate Editor of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR). Currently, his group is helping UBC to produce better exam timetables, Actenum Inc. to increase production efficiency in the oil and gas industry, and IBM to improve their CPLEX optimisation software, which is used by 50% of the world's largest companies and thousands of universities. (For further information, see Holger's web page at

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