The 2019 Amazon Research Awards is a grant program that provides up to $80,000 in cash and $20,000 in AWS Promotional Credits to academic researchers investigating topics across 11 focus areas. This year only 51 award recipients were announced worldwide, who represent 39 universities in 10 countries.
Prof. Aryeh Kontorovich, whose research focuses on machine learning and data science, is the only Israeli and only BGU scientist on the list.
“The Amazon Research Awards help fund outstanding, innovative research proposals across machine learning, robotics, operations research, and more, while helping strengthen connections between Amazon research teams, academic researchers, and their affiliated institutions," said Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon Machine Learning. “The breadth and depth of the research this year's recipients will pursue is impressive and will lead to critical innovations for our customers and meaningful scientific advancements in each of the 11 focus areas."
Over the past decade, Prof. Kontorovich and colleagues have been revolutionizing the area of learning in metric spaces. Dispensing entirely with the classic k-Nearest-Neighbor paradigm, they have developed a novel approach based on margin-regularized compression. This yields a learning algorithm that provably achieves what the classic one cannot: strong Bayes consistency in any metric setting in where it is possible. Aside from the statistical advantages, the new approach yields algorithmic ones as well: faster query times and memory savings. This research is very much ongoing, and the Amazon grant in question is awarded to fund implementing the theoretical techniques as a part of the standard Amazon SageMaker toolbox.
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