Yisong Yue (he/him)
California Institute of Technology
1200 E. California Blvd.
CMS, 305-16
Pasadena, CA 91125

Office: 303 Annenberg

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About & Research
I am a professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. My research interests lie primarily in machine learning, and span the entire theory-to-application spectrum from foundational advances all the way to deployment in real systems. I work closely with domain experts to understand the frontier challenges in applied machine learning, distill those challenges into mathematically precise formulations, and develop novel methods to tackle them.

In the past, my research has been applied to information retrieval, recommender systems, text classification, learning from rich user interfaces, analyzing implicit human feedback, data-driven animation, behavior analysis, sports analytics, experiment design for science, protein engineering, program synthesis, learning-accelerated optimization, robotics, and adaptive planning & allocation problems.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in my research group, in my courses, within the CMS department, at Caltech more broadly, and within my research communities.
  • Diversity -- I recognize that diversity, in all its shapes and forms, strengthens us both culturally and intellectually.
  • Equity -- I will fight for equal treatment of all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other attributes that do not define a person's academic and research potential.
  • Inclusion -- I will work to create an inclusive working environment, so that everyone feels their voices are heard and their contributions are recognized.
Read more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at the CMS Department and EAS Division at Caltech.
Selected Recent Papers
  • DeepGEM: Generalized Expectation-Maximization for Blind Inversion
    Angela Gao, Jorge Castellanos, Yisong Yue, Zachary Ross, Katherine Bouman
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), December 2021.
  • Meta-Adaptive Nonlinear Control: Theory and Algorithms
    Guanya Shi, Kamyar Azizzadenesheli, Michael O'Connell, Soon-Jo Chung, Yisong Yue
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), December 2021.
  • Learning to Control an Unstable System with One Minute of Data: Leveraging Gaussian Process Differentiation in Predictive Control
    Ivan D. Jimenez Rodriguez, Ugo Rosolia, Aaron D. Ames, Yisong Yue
    International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), September 2021.
    [arxiv][demo video]
  • Neural-Swarm2: Planning and Control of Heterogeneous Multirotor Swarms using Learned Interactions
    Guanya Shi, Wolfgang Hönig, Xichen Shi, Yisong Yue, Soon-Jo Chung
    IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO), 2021.
    [arxiv][video][press release]
  • Task Programming: Learning Data Efficient Behavior Representations
    Jennifer J. Sun, Ann Kennedy, Eric Zhan, David J. Anderson, Yisong Yue, Pietro Perona
    IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), June 2021.
    (Best Student Paper Award)
  • Online Robust Control of Nonlinear Systems with Large Uncertainty
    Dimitar Ho, Hoang M. Le, John Doyle, Yisong Yue
    International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), April 2021.
  • Learning Differentiable Programs with Admissible Neural Heuristics
    Ameesh Shah*, Eric Zhan*, Jennifer J. Sun, Abhinav Verma, Yisong Yue, Swarat Chaudhuri
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), December 2020.
  • On the distance between two neural networks and the stability of learning
    Jeremy Bernstein, Arash Vahdat, Yisong Yue, Ming-Yu Liu
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), December 2020.
  • Preference-Based Learning for Exoskeleton Gait Optimization
    Maegan Tucker*, Ellen Novoseller*, Claudia Kann, Yanan Sui, Yisong Yue, Joel Burdick, Aaron D. Ames
    International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2020.
    (Best Paper Award)
    [pdf][arxiv][demo video][project]
  • Batch Policy Learning under Constraints
    Hoang M. Le, Cameron Voloshin, Yisong Yue
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), June 2019.
    (Oral Presentation)
  • Iterative Amortized Inference
    Joseph Marino, Yisong Yue, Stephan Mandt
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), July 2018.
  • Multi-dueling Bandits with Dependent Arms
    Yanan Sui, Vincent Zhuang, Joel Burdick, Yisong Yue
    Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), August 2017.
News & Announcements
  • Best Paper Award: "End-to-End Sequential Sampling and Reconstruction for MR Imaging" won Best Paper at ML4Health 2021! [project]
  • Invited Talk: I presented on Neurosymbolic Programming at the Caltech Explainable AI Virtual Workshop. [slides]
  • Advances in Machine Learning-Assisted Directed Evolution for Protein Design: new paper showing that smart training set selection can significantly improve machine learning-guided directed evolution in highly epistatic protein fitness landscapes with large low-fitness regions. [online][bioRxiv][code]
  • Personalized Preference Learning from Spinal Cord Stimulation to Exoskeletons: interactive learning approaches for personalizing medical assistive devices. [slides]
  • Fine-Grained Identification of Biological Neural Networks: our KDD 2021 paper on "Fine-Grained System Identification of Nonlinear Neural Circuits" demonstrated identifying sparse nonlinear neural networks from real neural recording data. [arxiv][code]
  • Multi-Agent Behavior Workshop: Video recordings from our Multi-Agent Behavior Workshop (co-located with CVPR 2021) are now available. [playlist]
  • Bon Voyage! We have four departures in the 2020-2021 academic year:
    • Ellen Novoseller completed her PhD and has started as a postdoc in Ken Goldberg's group at UC Berkeley.
    • Angie Liu completed her postdoc and will start as an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University.
    • Joe Marino completed his PhD and will start as a research scientist at DeepMind.
    • Jialin Song completed his PhD and has started as a research scientist at NVIDIA AI.
  • Paper Award: Our work on Task Programming won Best Student Paper at CVPR 2021! [arxiv][code][project]
  • AI for Science Challenge: We have released the Multi-Agent Behavior Dataset: Mouse Dyadic Social Interactions. [arxiv][dataset][code]
  • Invited Talk: Video now available of my talk on "Learning to Optimize as Policy Learning" presented at the Princeton Optimization Seminar. [slides]
  • Invited Talk: I presented on "Learning for Safety-Critical Control in Dynamical Systems" at the Control Meets Learning seminar series.
  • Invited Talk: I gave the Earnest C. Watson Lecture on January 13th, 2021.
  • Invited Talk: I gave a presentation on AI for Adaptive Experiment Design at the Directions in ML: AutoML and Automating Algorithms hosted by Microsoft Research. [slides]
  • Neural-Swarm2: we have released the details of our heterogeneous neural swarm approach! [paper]
  • Invited Talk: I am presenting on "Competitive Algorithms for Online Control" at the Simons Institute Workshop on Mathematics of Online Decision Making. [slides]
  • Invited Talk: I am presenting at the Workshop on Imitation Learning: Single & Multi-Agent hosted by DAI 2020. [slides]
  • Invited Talk: I am presenting on "Learning to Optimize as Policy Learning" at the Princeton Optimization Seminar. [slides]
  • ML for Rover Path Planning: check out this video of our MLNav extension of ENav (the path planner currently on the Mars Perseverance Rover). [arxiv]
  • NSF Expeditions on Program Learning: we are starting a new research initiative titled Understanding the World Through Code, funded through the NSF Expeditions in Computing Program.
  • Controllable Generation of Behaviors: we designed a new method that can generate behaviors calibrated to many different styles. [paper][code][demo]
  • AI for Swarm Automation: check out this new article titled Machine Learning Helps Robot Swarms Coordinate. [paper 1][paper 2] (videos below)
  • Invited Talk: I gave a talk on "Learning for Safety-Critical Control in Dynamical Systems" in the Physics ∩ ML seminar. [slides] (video below)
  • Best Paper Award: Our work on preference learning for exoskeleton gait optimization is appearing at ICRA 2020 with a Best Paper Award! [arxiv][project] (video below).
[All Content © 2021 Yisong Yue]