Machine Learning is a field of Computer Science that aims to develop algorithms that learn from experience. This is in contrast to traditional computer science algorithms where behavior is directly coded into the algorithms. Machine Learning algorithms take experience in form of data and observe patterns in these data to make decisions and predictions.
Machine Learning became widely popular in recent years and Machine Learning methods are widely used, having applications in every industry and research area. They are essential for research and development in chemistry, by analyzing compounds and predicting properties such as toxicity or metabolic pathways, they help in drug discovery or help protect the environment by analyzing vast amounts of data, exploiting the full potential of data sets to protect the environment and develop mitigation strategies for pollution. Machine Learning methods are the main drivers in any area that produces on and relies on data.
In Aotearoa, Machine Learning has a long and successful history in both academia and industry. It is home to a strong research community, leading to the development of standard toolkits such as R and Weka and strong research groups in both universities and research institutes. Following the worldwide trend, Machine Learning is an essential part of every industry in Aotearoa. It is used to minimize the environmental impact of key industries, optimize processes, and plays key roles in analyzing large collections of data in a wide range of applications.
In the future, Machine Learning will become an even more integral part of industry and everyday life applications in Aotearoa. It will protect its biodiversity, advance fundamental and applied research, and build an entirely new industry. To participate in and contribute to worldwide advancements, strong machine learning research institutions play a key role in Aotearoa’s future.
The University of Auckland is home to some of the leading experts in the area with a strong network both nationally and internationally. Our group is the largest research group in the School of Computer Science with more than 20 PhD students and years of experience in Machine Learning. We prepare computer science students with essential machine learning skills and work with researchers and industry on the development of new algorithms or the application of Machine Learning.
We have broad research interests across machine learning and its applications. Most applications can be summarized under the umbrella of computational sustainability, a strongly interdisciplinary research area that uses machine learning approaches to address sustainability challenges in Aotearoa and worldwide. For example, our researchers develop models that predict the environmental fate of pollutants, analyse bat calls to track environmental pollution, or analyse air pollution sensor data sets. The Cheminformatics Aotearoa research group is hosted by the Machine Learning group.
Our group regularly publishes their work in the top Machine Learning conferences and journals, introducing new algorithms that advance the area. We cover all areas of Machine Learning and have strong expertise in fields such as Online Learning, Lifelong Learning, Spatio-Temporal Data Mining, Adversarial Learning, or Ethics in AI.