UMN Machine Learning Seminar

The UMN Machine Learning Seminar Series brings together faculty, students, and local industrial partners who are interested in the theoretical, computational, and applied aspects of machine learning, to pose problems, exchange ideas, and foster collaborations. The talks are every Thursday from 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. during the Summer 2021 semester.

This week's speaker, Brian Kulis (Boston University) will be giving a talk titled "New Directions in Metric Learning."


Metric learning is a supervised machine learning problem concerned with learning a task-specific distance function from supervised data. It has found numerous applications in problems such as similarity search, clustering, and ranking. Much of the foundational work in this area focused on the class of so-called Mahalanobis metrics, which may be viewed as Euclidean distances after linear transformations of the data. This talk will describe two recent directions in metric learning: deep metric learning and divergence learning. The first replaces the linear transformations with the output of a neural network, while the second considers a broader class than Mahalanobis metrics. I will discuss some of my recent work along both of these fronts, as well as ongoing attempts to combine these approaches together using a novel framework called deep divergences.


Brian Kulis is an associate professor at Boston University, with appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, the Faculty of Computing and Data Sciences, and the Division of Systems Engineering. He also is an Amazon Scholar, working with the Alexa team. Previously he was the Peter J. Levine Career Development assistant professor at Boston University. Before joining Boston University, he was an assistant professor in Computer Science and in Statistics at Ohio State University, and prior to that was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley EECS. His research focuses on machine learning, statistics, computer vision, and large-scale optimization. He obtained his PhD in computer science from the University of Texas in 2008, and his BA degree from Cornell University in computer science and mathematics in 2003. For his research, he has won three best paper awards at top-tier conferences---two at the International Conference on Machine Learning (in 2005 and 2007) and one at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (in 2008). He is also the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award in 2015, an MCD graduate fellowship from the University of Texas (2003-2007), and an Award of Excellence from the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas.


Start date
Thursday, July 1, 2021, Noon
End date
Thursday, July 1, 2021, 1 p.m.