Prospective Students

Not Pitt students: I have no influence on the graduate admissions process, for which information can be found here. Feel free to reach out, but I may not be helpful at this stage.

Pitt students: If you are interested in an undergraduate or graduate research project under my supervision, please reach out by email or in person (contact info at the bottom of the page). It is helpful if you include a brief description of your background and interests in your initial message. If you have a particular topic in mind (graph-based algorithms or deep neural networks, or a specific data set that you find interesting etc.), please bring that up as well.

In general: Machine learning (ML) is a tool kit for solving problems involving big data, oft referred to as Artificial Intelligence (AI). While promising, these new technologies are affected by serious problems before they are ready for deployment - much as technologies have been historically. My interest is more in the underlying processes of machine learning than in enhancing the performance of AI on a specific problem.

Possible topics

My research projects generally fall within the scope of  machine learning (and most likely deep learning). Particular interests of mine are for example the following:

If you have a particular topic in mind, I will be happy to see how it may be integrated. The range for undergraduate research projects is somewhat wider, including other topics in machine learning, but also the calculus of variations, partial differential equations, and geometric flows.

You can check out my work in the areas that you are interested aranged graphically in this image. For more details, please see the Publications.


The focus of my research are the foundations of deep learning. Strong analytic skills are required for most projects.

For some undergraduate research projects, the requirements may be relaxed. Linear algebra and calculus are required here as well. A lot of useful resources specifically for machine learning and deep learning can be found on the course page for my class on the Principles of Deep Learning.

If you are looking for an application-oriented research project, it is useful if you already have an application in mind.

Useful Qualifications

The following are not required, nor is it realistic to be an expert in all of them. In any research project, it is likely that one or several of them may pop up at some point. To see graphically how different areas connect to deep learning, see this image.

While knowledge of one or multiple of these topics may be useful, it is not required. A research project will be based on your knowledge and interests.