New CSE Faculty 2023

New Faculty Bolster School’s Machine Learning, High-Performance Computing Expertise

Faculty growth in Georgia Tech’s School of Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) continues trending upward with the addition of four new assistant professors.

Bo Dai started at Georgia Tech on May 15 and Raphaël Pestourie began on July 1. Kai Wang and Helen Xu will join the School of CSE in Spring 2024. With these hires, the School of CSE now comprises 23 full-time faculty, 15 who are assistant professors.

Before joining academia, Bo Dai worked as a staff research scientist at Google Brain. He will have a part-time affiliation with Google while at Georgia Tech.

Dai is the first CSE alumnus to return to the School as a faculty member. He earned his Ph.D. in computational science and engineering in 2018, studying under Professor Le Song.

Dai’s research focuses on developing principled and practical machine learning (ML) techniques for real-world applications. This includes creating better reinforcement learning models and data-driven decision-making models.

“I am honored and grateful to have the privilege of returning to my alma mater as a faculty member,” Dai said. “I am excited to use this unique opportunity to inspire and guide the next generation of students, and to give back and contribute to Georgia Tech.”

Raphaël Pestourie comes to CSE from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a postdoctoral associate in the mathematics department. He arrives at Tech with a diverse educational background that fosters new insights for the ML field.

He earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and A.M. in statistics in 2020, both from Harvard University. By 2014, Pestourie attained four master’s degrees in his native France.

These include degrees in physics from École Centrale Paris, both business and management from École Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC), and nanoscience from Université Paris-Saclay.

Pestourie’s research specialization is scientific ML and inverse design in electromagnetism.

“The goal of my group is to create accurate models that enable previously unreachable engineering solutions via optimization. We will create scientific artificial intelligence (AI) models that efficiently combine information from data and scientific knowledge toward simulations that drive engineering discovery,” said Pestourie.

“With this research agenda, I could not find a better home than CSE—the academic discipline devoted to systematic computer models to solve real-world problems.”

Kai Wang recently earned his Ph.D. in computer science at Harvard University, as a Siebel Scholar. His expertise lies in ML and optimization, focusing on data-driven decision-making and AI for social impact.

One place Wang’s work is currently making an impact is in India. ARMMAN, a non-profit organization, is using his algorithms to connect pregnant women and mothers and their infants with health providers. This collaboration assists the organization in its mission to improve access to maternal healthcare in the country.

Wang also worked with the World Wildlife Fund and Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, toward environmental and wildlife conservation. Through this collaboration, Wang applied his ML research and multi-agent systems in satellite imaging to detect illegal factory expansion and animal poaching.

“Applying AI to create social impact is one of the greatest responsibilities and opportunities in our generation,” Wang said. “I am excited to work with talented students, researchers, and practitioners at Georgia Tech CSE to build reliable and scalable AI, conquer societal challenges, and make a better future together.”

Helen Xu comes to Georgia Tech from Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory (LBNL) where she was the 2022 Grace Hopper Postdoctoral Scholar. She completed her Ph.D. in computer science at MIT the same year.

Along with her time at LBNL, Xu has worked with NVIDIA, Microsoft Research, and Sandia National Laboratories.

Her research examines high-performance computing (HPC), with interests in parallel computing, cache-efficient algorithms, and performance engineering.

“I joined CSE because of its research strengths in many areas of HPC, which I hope will lead to fruitful collaborations,” Xu said. “I was also impressed by the extensive computing resources at Georgia Tech, which will help expand and accelerate my research.”