Dr. Alexander Johannes Smola
Professor, Australian National University
Senior Principal Researcher, NICTA

Track record

My research on Support Vector Machines and kernel methods has shaped the progress in this area. Consequently it found its way into textbooks. One of my own books has become standard course material for kernel methods. There is hardly an aspect of kernel methods which I have not contributed to, be it optimization, statistical properties, theory, applications, teaching, or organization of events. Kernels allow one to design a large number of estimators which show superior flexibility and ease of use.

I have served (repeatedly) on several senior program committees in NIPS, COLT, ICML, KDD, SDM. In addition to that, I am member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Machine Learning Research, Statistics and Computing, and the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Recognition and Machine Intelligence. I have reviewed for every major conference and journal in the area of machine learning.

Teaching and Supervision
Over the past decade I have (co)supervised and am supervising several PhD students, among those Ying Guo, Cheng Soon Ong, Omri Guttman, Justin Bedo, Karsten Borgwardt (de facto), Le Song (de facto), Markus Weimer (de facto), Matthew Robard, Quoc Le, Choon Hui Teo, Owen Thomas, Tim Sears, Novi Quadrianto and Javen Qinfeng Shi.

In the past I have held 7 grants of the Australian Research Council, with a total of approximately 1.5 Million AU$. In addition to that, I held a postdoctoral grant of the German Research Foundation, and grants by the German National Scholarship Foundation. Finally, the Statistical Machine Learning Program holds a European Union collaborative grant as part of a European network of excellence in machine learning.
In my role as a Program Leader in NICTA I am responsible for an annual budget of 1.5 to 2 Million AU$.

My recent position as program leader of the Statistical Machine Learning Program at NICTA involved leading a team of up to 35 researchers, programmers, PhD students, visitors, and interns (the numbers fluctuate widely, since SML had a large number of visitors and its team members are internationally well connected). During my leadership the size of the program has trebled.





Workshops and Summer Schools


I am a member of the editorial board of
In addition to that I have served as a member of the program committees of
In addition to that I am a member of the advisory board (and co-founder) of Kernel-Machines.org. Finally, I am a referee for grants of the Australian Research Council.

Academic Collaboration

I have collaborated with a large number of colleagues worldwide, such as Thomas Hofmann (Fraunhofer, Dortmund), Tony Jebara and Risi Kondor (Columbia University), Chris Burges (Microsoft, Redmond), Ralf Herbrich (Microsoft, Cambridge), Karsten Borgwardt (Cambridge University), Carlos Guestrin (CMU), Eleazar Eskin (UC San Diego), John Shawe-Taylor (University College London), John Langford (Yahoo Research), Sam Roweis (University of Toronto), Amir Globerson (MIT), Gideon Dror (U Haifa), Bernhard Schölkopf and Gunnar Rätsch (MPI for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen), Klaus-Robert Müller (Fraunhofer, Berlin), Yasemin Altun (Toyota Technological Institute, Chicago), Thomas Gaertner (Fraunhofer, Bonn), and Stephane Canu (INSA, Rouen).