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Maryam Fazel

Moorthy Family Professor in ECE
Data Science, Robotics and Controls
Room CSE230, Paul Allen Center
Campus Box 352500
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195


Maryam serves as the Associate Chair for Research in ECE, and holds the Moorthy Family Professorship, as well as adjunct appointments in the departments of Mathematics, Statistics, and the Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at UW. Her current research interests are Optimization in Machine Learning, Learning and Control, and Online/interactive learning.

Maryam is the director and the lead PI of the Institute for Foundations of Data Science (IFDS), a multi-university research institute aiming to develop theoretical foundations for machine learning and data science, funded by a $12.5 million NSF TRIPODS Phase II grant, launched in September 2020. Previously, she co-directed the Algorithmic Foundations of Data Science Institute (ADSI), a TRIPODS Phase I institute that was a pre-cursor to IFDS.

She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award (2009), UWEE Outstanding Teaching Award (2009), and UAI conference Best Student Paper Award (with her student K. Dvijotham, 2014), and coauthored a paper on low-rank matrix estimation selected by ScienceWatch as the “Fast Breaking Paper” in the area of Mathematics (August 2011). Prior to joining UW, she was a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech; and received her PhD in EE from Stanford University where she was advised by Prof. Stephen Boyd. She received her BS in EE from Sharif University of Technology in Iran.

Maryam serves on the Editorial board of the MOS-SIAM Book Series on Optimization, as a Founding Associate Editor of the SIAM Journal on Mathematics of Data Science (SIMODS), as a Steering Committee & Program Committee Member of ICCOPT 2022, and commonly as an Area Chair for Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS).

Awards and Honors

In the News:

Honors, Awards, Keynotes:

  • Invited as Keynote Speaker (one of three). Conf. on Learning Theory (COLT), July 2022, London, UK.
  • NSF TRIPODS Phase II (2020-2025). Director and lead principal investigator of IFDS (Inst. For Foundations of Data Science), a multi-site Institute with partners at Universities of Wisconsin, California at Santa Cruz, and Chicago.
  • Moorthy Family Professor in ECE, August 2020-present.
  • NSF TRIPODS (2017-2020): Co-director (with S. Kakade) of the Phase I NSF Institute: Algorithmic Foundations for Data Science Institute (ADSI). Co-PIs: Dmitriy Drusvyatskiy, Zaid Harchaoui, Yin Tat Lee. NSF announcement and press, also here.
  • Keynote Speaker, Intl. Symposium on Mathematical Programming (ISMP), July 2018, Bordeaux, France.
  • Simons Institute Open Lecture (one of three public lectures per semester, organized by the Simons Institute, UC Berkeley), November 2017, Berkeley, CA.
  • Plenary Speaker, SIAM Applied Linear Algebra Conference, October 26-30 2015, Atlanta, GA.
  • Plenary Speaker, SPARS Conference 2015 (Signal Processing with Adaptive Sparse Representations), July 2015, Cambridge, UK.
  • Best Student Paper Award, Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI) 2014 (with K. Dvijotham and E. Todorov).
  • Plenary Speaker, 2013 International Linear Algebra Society Conference, June 3-7 2013, Providence, RI.
  • Coauthored paper selected by ScienceWatch as the “Fast Breaking Paper” in the area of Mathematics, August 2011.
  • NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2009.
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, 2009, University of Washington Electrical Engineering Dept. (Annual department-level teaching award, nominated by students)
  • EE Dept. Award for ranking first among all freshmen, 1990, Electrical Engineering Dept., Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
  • Ranked first in the country in the Nationwide Entrance Examination to all Iranian Universities (among ~1 million applicants), 1990, Iran. Presidential Letter of Honor awarded by the Iranian President, 1990, Iran.

Research Projects

Some of our projects (also see recent publications):

  • Learning in Decision-dependent Games; Multiplayer Performative Prediction
  • Learning and Optimal Experimental Design with a Budget (NSF CIF) (2020-2024)
  • Institute for Foundations of Data Science (NSF TRIPODS Phase II Institute) (2020-2025)
  • Safe Imitation Learning for Robotics. NSF TRIPODS+X. PI: Hachaoui (Stats) Co-PIs: Fazel, Srinivasa (CSE), Kakade (CSE)
  • Algorithmic Foundations of Data Science Institute (NSF TRIPODS Phase I) (2017-2020)
  • Control and Learning of Dynamical Systems: Optimization, Sampling, and Regret (DARPA Lagrange program) (2018-2019)
  • ADAPT: Analytical Framework for Actionable Defense against Advanced Persistent Threats (2016-2021)

Recent Publications

Please see my Google Scholar page for a complete list.


I am fortunate to currently advise or co-advise these great students:

As well as fantastic IFDS postdocs:


  • Ting Kei Pong, PhD in Mathematics, June 2011. Co-advised with Prof. Paul Tseng. Currently: Associate Professor, Dept. of Applied Mathematics, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
  • Brian Hutchinson, PhD in EE, August 2013. Co-advised with Prof. Mari Ostendorf. Currently: Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, Western Washington University.
  • Dvijotham Krishnamurthy, PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, June 2014. Co-advised with Prof. Emo Todorov. Currently: Research Scientist at Google Brain.
  • Palma London, BS in EE and Math, June 2014. Currently: Postdoc at Cornell.
  • Karthik Mohan, PhD in EE, December 2014. Currently: Applied Scientist at Facebook/Meta.
  • James Saunderson, Postdoc (joint position with Caltech), Sep 2015-June 2016. Currently: Associate Professor, Dept of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Monash Univ, Australia.
  • Amin Jalali, PhD in EE, August 2016. Postdoc at Univ. of Wisconsin; Researcher at Technicolor Research.
  • Dennis Meng, PhD in EE, May 2017. Kernel Labs Inc.
  • Reza Eghbali, PhD in EE, August 2017. Currently: Data Science Health Innovation Fellow at University of California, San Francisco & University of California, Berkeley.
  • Tyler Johnson, PhD in EE, October 2018. Co-advised with Prof. Carlos Guestrin. Currently: Machine Learning Research Engineer, Apple Inc.
  • Jingjing Bu, PhD in EE, 2020. Co-advised with Prof. Mehran Mesbahi. Currently: Software engineer at TikTok Inc.
  • Mitas Ray, MS in EE, 2021. Co-advised with Prof. Lillian Ratliff. Currently: ML Software engineer at