AAAI-19/IAAI-19/EAAI-19 Invited Speaker Schedule

Sunday, February 4
9:00 – 9:50 am – Rao Kambhampati (Presidential Address)
5:10 – 6:10 pm – Yejin Choi

Monday, February 5
8:50 – 9:50 am – Charles Isbell
5:00 – 6:00 pm – Zoubin Ghahramani (AAAI/IAAI Joint Talk)

Tuesday, February 6
8:50 – 9:50 am – Cynthia Dwork
4:00 – 5:00 pm – Joe Halpern

Wednesday, February 7
8:50 – 9:50 am – Percy Liang

AAAI-19/IAAI-19/EAAI-19 Invited Speaker Program

AAAI-19 will feature the following series of distinguished speakers (partial list):

Dimitris Bertsimas

Dimitris Bertsimas

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

AAAI 2019 Invited Talk
Talk Title: Interpretable AI

Abstract: We introduce a new generation of machine learning methods that provide state of the art performance and are very interpretable. We introduce optimal classification (OCT) and regression (ORT) trees for prediction and prescription with and without hyperplanes. We show that (a) Trees are very interpretable, (b) They can be calculated in large scale in practical times, and (c) In a large collection of real world data sets they give comparable or better performance than random forests or boosted trees. Their prescriptive counterparts have a significant edge on interpretability and comparable or better performance than causal forests. Finally, we show that optimal trees with hyperplanes have at least as much modeling power as (feedforward, convolutional and recurrent) neural networks and comparable performance in a variety of real world data sets. These results suggest that optimal trees are interpretable, practical to compute in large scale and provide state of the art performance compared to black box methods. (joint work with Jack Dunn)

Dimitris Bertsimas is currently the Boeing Professor of Operations Research, the co-director of the Operations Research Center, and faculty director of the Master of Business analytics at MIT. He received his SM and PhD in Applied Mathematics and Operations Research from MIT in 1987 and 1988 respectively. He has been with the MIT faculty since 1988. His research interests include optimization, machine learning and applied probability and their applications in health care, finance, operations management and transportation. He has co-authored more than 200 scientific papers and four graduate level textbooks. He is the editor in Chief of INFORMS Journal of Optimization and former department editor in Optimization for Management Science and in Financial Engineering in Operations Research. He has supervised 67 doctoral students and he is currently supervising 25 others. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 2005, an INFORMS fellow, and he has received numerous research and teaching awards including the Morse prize (2013), the Pierskalla award for best paper in health care (2013), the best paper award in Transportation (2013), the Farkas prize (2008), the Erlang prize (1996), the SIAM prize in optimization (1996), the Bodossaki prize (1998) and the Presidential Young Investigator award (1991-1996).

Cynthia Breazeal

Cynthia Breazeal

MIT Media Lab

AAAI 2019 Invited Talk
Talk Title: Living and Flourishing with AI

Abstract: Beyond automating productivity and supporting decision making, Artificial Intelligence can also be designed to help people to flourish and grow. As people across ages and stages begin to live with AI in the home, we have the opportunity to develop autonomous machines that can support a diversity people as emotionally intelligent and capable allies. This is particularly poignant as societies struggle to meet the growing demands of aging, chronic disease management, mood disorders, and lifelong learning. This gives rise to important challenges and opportunities for how to design, deploy and evaluate the long-term impact of socially and emotionally intelligent machines in the real world to help people learn, thrive and emotionally connect. This requires a tightly interwoven approach at the intersection of design, human social psychology, ethics, and AI. We have the opportunity to develop AI that places human growth and wellbeing at the center to benefit everyone in personally meaningful and uplifting ways.

Cynthia Breazeal is an Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group. She is Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives for the MIT Quest for Intelligence. She is recognized as a pioneer in the field of social robotics and human-robot interaction that seamlessly integrates AI, Robotics, Psychology and Design. Her research focuses on the design and real-world impact of personalized and emotionally engaging personified AI technologies that promote personal growth and flourishing. She is author of the book ‘Designing Sociable Robots.’ She has spoken at prestigious venues such as TED, CES, SXSW, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations on topics related to AI, innovation, and society. She is a recipient of awards by the National Academy of Engineering as well as the National Design Awards. She has received Technology Review’s TR100/35 Award and the George R. Stibitz Computer & Communications Pioneer Award. Her robots have been recognized by TIME magazine’s Best Inventions in 2008 and in 2017 where Jibo was featured on the cover.

Ashok Goel

Ashok Goel

Georgia Institute of Technology

AAAI/EAAI 2019 Outstanding Educator Award Talk
Talk Title: Experiments in Teaching AI

Abstract: With the ongoing growth of interest in AI, we have a responsibility to teach AI to rapidly increasing numbers of students. This also presents a wonderful opportunity to use AI to teach AI, and to use the teaching of AI as a testbed for AI techniques and tools. I will present several experiments in teaching AI, and, in particular, teaching cognitive systems. These experiments include not only face-to-face learning, but also online and blended learning. I will share results from assessments of learning in these classes. I will also draw out some general principles for teaching AI and using AI to teach AI.

Ashok Goel is a Professor of Computer Science and the Director of the Ph.D. Program in Human-Centered Computing in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. He conducts research into artificial intelligence and cognitive science with a focus on computational design and creativity. He is the Editor of AAAI’s AI Magazine and a Co-Chair of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. He is a Co-Editor of a volume on Blended Learning in Practice: A Guide for Practitioners and Researchers to be published by MIT Press in 2019.

Ian Goodfellow

Ian Goodfellow

Google AI

AAAI 2019 Invited Talk
Talk Title: Adversarial Machine Learning

Abstract: Until about 2013, most researchers studying machine learning for artificial intelligence all worked on a common goal: get machine learning to work for AI-scale tasks. Now that supervised learning works, there is a Cambrian explosion of new research directions: making machine learning secure, making machine learning private, getting machine learning to work for new tasks, reducing the dependence on large amounts of labeled data, and so on. In this talk I survey how adversarial techniques in machine learning are involved in several of these new research frontiers.

Ian Goodfellow is a senior staff research scientist at Google Brain. He leads a group of researchers studying adversarial techniques in AI. He developed the first defenses against adversarial examples, was among the first to study the security and privacy of neural networks, and helped to popularize the field of machine learning security and privacy. He is the lead author of the MIT Press textbook Deep Learning ( In 2017, Ian was listed among MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators under 35, recognizing his invention of generative adversarial networks.

Milind Tambe

Milind Tambe

University of Southern California

AAAI/IAAI 2019 Robert S. Engelmore Memorial Lecture Award
Talk Title: AI and Multiagent Systems for Social Good

Abstract: With the maturing of AI and multiagent systems research, we have a tremendous opportunity to direct these advances towards addressing complex societal problems. I will focus on the problems of public safety and security, wildlife conservation and public health in low-resource communities, and present research advances in multiagent systems to address one key cross-cutting challenge: how to effectively deploy our limited intervention resources in these problem domains. Results from our deployments from around the world show concrete improvements over the state of the art. In pushing this research agenda, we believe AI can indeed play an important role in fighting social injustice and improving society.

Milind Tambe is Helen N. and Emmett H. Jones Professor in Engineering and Founding Co-Director of the Center for AI in Society at the University of Southern California. He is a fellow of AAAI and ACM, and recipient of the IJCAI John McCarthy Award, ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award, INFORMS Wagner prize, the Rist Prize of the Military Operations Research Society, the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland security award, International Foundation for Agents and Multiagent Systems influential paper award, Meritorious Team Commendation from the US Coast Guard and LA Airport Police, and Certificate of Appreciation from US Federal Air Marshals Service.

Qiang Yang

Qiang Yang

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

AAAI 2019 Invited Talk
Talk Title: GDPR, Data Shortage and AI

Abstract: Despite its great progress so far, artificial intelligence (AI) is facing a serious challenge in the availability of high-quality Big Data. In many practical applications, data are in the form of isolated islands. Efforts to integrate the data are increasingly difficult partly due to serious concerns over user privacy and data security. The problem is exacerbated by strict government regulations such as Europe’s General Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR). In this talk, I will review these challenges and describe possible technical solutions to address them. In particular, I will give an overview of recent advances in transfer learning and show how it can alleviate the problems of data shortage. I will also give an overview of recent efforts in federated learning and transfer learning, which aims to bridge data repositories without compromising data security and privacy.

Qiang Yang is a chair professor at Computer Science and Engineering Department at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). His research interests include artificial intelligence, machine learning, especially transfer learning. He is a fellow of AAAI, ACM, IEEE, AAAS etc., and the founding Editor in Chief of the ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (ACM TIST) and the founding Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Big Data (IEEE TBD). He received his PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1989 and has taught at the University of Waterloo and Simon Fraser University. He was the PC Chair of IJCAI-2015, and received the ACM SIGKDD Distinguished Service Award in 2017. He is the current President of IJCAI (2017-2019) and an executive council member of AAAI.

Yu Zheng

Yu Zheng

JD Group

AAAI-19/IAAI-19 Joint Invited Talk
Talk Title: Urban Computing: Building Intelligent Cities Using Big Data and AI

Abstract: Urban computing is a synergy among cloud computing, big data and AI models in the context of cities, tackling urban challenges, such as air pollution, energy consumption and traffic congestion, to create win-win-win solutions that improve urban environment, human life quality and city operation systems. This talk presents the vision of urban computing, demonstrating how AI technology helps to build intelligent cities. A series of AI-driven applications, such as location selection for business, forecasting air and water quality, and reducing energy consumption are also introduced in this talk. More information can be found through the website:

Yu Zheng is the Vice President of JD Group, leading the Urban Computing Business Unit and JD Intelligent City Research. He also serves as the Chief Data Scientist at JD Digits, passionate about using big data and AI technology to tackle urban challenges. Before Joining JD Group, he was a senior research manager at Microsoft Research. Zheng is also a Chair Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and an Adjunct Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology and has served as chair on over 10 prestigious international conferences, such as the program co-chair of ICDE 2014 (Industrial Track), CIKM 2017 (Industrial Track) and IJCAI 2019 (industrial track), as well as an area chair of AAAI 2019. In 2013, he was named one of the Top Innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review (TR35) and featured by Time Magazine for his research on urban computing. In 2014, he was named one of the Top 40 Business Elites under 40 in China by Fortune Magazine. In 2017, Zheng was honored as an ACM Distinguished Scientist. His homepage is

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