Ankur Moitra named next director of the Statistics and Data Science Center
Ankur Moitra (Dept of Mathematics) will be the next director of the Statistics and Data Science Center (SDSC) in IDSS, effective July 1, 2021. Ankur will succeed Devavrat Shah, the founding director of the center, who stepped down in January 2021 at the start of his sabbatical.
Ankur works at the interface between theoretical computer science and machine learning by developing algorithms with provable guarantees and foundations for reasoning about their behavior. His research spans a diverse range of topics, including spectral and tensor methods, optimization, high dimensional statistics, sampling, inference and combinatorics. He joined the mathematics department as an Assistant Professor in 2013 and will be a Full Professor starting in July 2021. He is also a principal investigator in CSAIL and a core member of the theory of computation group.
Before joining MIT as faculty, he received his BS in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University where he was the valedictorian in 2007. He received his MS and PhD in computer science from MIT and won the William A. Martin and George M. Sprowls thesis awards in 2009 and 2011 respectively. He was an NSF postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching, including a Packard Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, an ONR Young Investigator Award, an NSF CAREER Award, a Hertz Fellowship and a School of Science Excellence in Graduate Teaching Prize.
In addition, Ankur has been heavily involved in summer research programs both at the high school and undergraduate levels. Every summer, he and fellow math professor David Jerison serve as faculty mentors for twenty or more projects that have helped expose students to the joys of independent research.
“I am personally very excited about Ankur joining the IDSS leadership group and leading SDSC in its next phase,” says IDSS director Munther Dahleh. “Please join me in congratulating him on this leadership role.”