ML@GT Professor Wins Fellowship and Dissertation Honorable Mention

It’s been a busy summer for Rachel Cummings, Machine Learning Center at Georgia Tech faculty member.  Along with earning a prestigious fellowship, the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering assistant professor has been recognized for a recent paper.

Cummings, whose research interests lie primarily with data privacy, algorithmic economics, optimization, connections to machine learning, information theory, and statistics, begins The Simons-Berkeley Fellowship in Data Privacy next January at the University of California, Berkeley’s Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.

The program works to foster new collaborations between researchers who focus on the theoretical aspects of data privacy and those who work in areas where the theory could practically be applied. With several large data breaches in the past few years (Facebook, Equifax, and Wells Fargo just to name a few), the need for new technology and ways of thinking about data privacy is much needed.

Cummings and her co-fellows will spend the semester researching basic privacy-related statistical, algorithmic, and game-theoretic questions. They will also explore methodologies for bridging gaps that exist between approaches to privacy that are related to law, ethics, and social norms versus mathematics-based approaches. The fellows will also study barriers that prevent theoretical privacy research from being implemented and what solutions can be created to overcome these barriers.

In addition to her fellowship, Cummings received the ACM SIGecom Doctoral Dissertation Honorable Mention for her 2017 doctoral dissertation titled, The Implications of Privacy-Aware Choice. The award recognizes an “outstanding dissertation in the field of economics and computation” and was chosen by a panel of judges from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, and Microsoft Research New England. The award was presented at the 19th ACM Conference on Economics and Computation in June at Cornell University.

Cummings is teaching supply chain economics at Georgia Tech’s campus this fall.

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