Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Dr Robert Williamson

BE, M.Eng.Sci, PhD
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science
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 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.

Return to top

Updated:  17 November 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers