Dr Robert Williamson

BE, M.Eng.Sci, PhD
College of Engineering & Computer Sciences
T: 61250079

Areas of expertise

  • Pattern Recognition And Data Mining 080109
  • Artificial Intelligence And Image Processing 0801
  • Statistical Theory 010405
  • Coding And Information Theory 080401
  • Technology Not Elsewhere Classified 109999

Research interests

My main focus is Machine Learning. My particular interests at present are described on my home page http://users.cecs.anu.edu.au/~williams/ which is kept more up to date than this page.  In a nutshell I am interested in theoprising about a very large class of machine learning problems. Since such problems are defined in terms of loss functions and measures of information, I have paid much attention to them in recent years.  The flavour of research could be described as relational: I seek relationships between different problems, rather than directly solving individual problems.



Research interests:
Machine Learning
I am a professor (E2) in the  research school of computer science.  I was instrumental in founding NICTA (2002-2015), serving as Canberra lab director, scientific director, leader of the machine learning group, and final CEO.  From 2015-2017 I was chief scientist of DATA61, where I am now also a distinguished researcher.

My machine learning research is primarily theoretical, studying limits of performance of any possible machine learning algorithm. I have, however, developed (with others) some widely used algorithms such as the nu-SVM and the one-class SVM (support vector machine).   More recently I have been focusing on mathematical relations between machine learning problems, including characterisations of their hardness.  Very recently I have worked on the question of fairness in machine learning, with this paper winning the best technical contribution award at FAT*18. 


As well as my technical work, I played a lead role in writing the substantial report for the Chief Scientist of Australia on Technology and Australia’s Future.

The list of publications below is not entirely up-to-date. Best bet is my google scholar profile.

I am a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Mathematical Society


Available student projects


Reconceiving Machine Learning Keywords: machine learning


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  29 May 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers