ADA Research Group

Group members


Holger H. Hoos (professor, head of group)


Adjunct members

Former membersPhD genealogy



Holger H. Hoos

Holger founded the ADA Research Group in 2017, after being appointed Professor of Machine Learning at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS). He is also a Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia (Canada), where he holds an additional appointment as Faculty Associate at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and past president of the Canadian Association for Artificial Intelligence / Association pour l'intelligence artificielle au Canada (CAIAC). Holger completed his PhD in 1998 at TU Darmstadt (Germany), where he previously studied computer science, mathematics and biochemistry.

Holger's research interests span artificial intelligence, empirical algorithmics, bioinformatics and computer music. He is known for his work on machine learning and optimisation methods for the automated design of high-performance algorithms and for his work on stochastic local search. Based on a broad view of machine learning, he has developed - and vigorously pursues - the paradigm of programming by optimisation (PbO); he is also one of the originators of the concept of automated machine learning (AutoML). Holger has a penchant for work at the boundaries between computing science and other disciplines, and much of his work is inspired by real-world applications.

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Mitra Baratchi

Mitra is an assistant professor in LIACS. She joined ADA Research Group in February 2018. Before joining LIACS, she was a postdoctoral researcher in Design and Analysis of Communication Systems Research (DACS) Group at University of Twente. Prior to that, she was a researcher in Ambient Intelligence Research Group at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. In June 2015, she received her PhD degree in Computer Sciene from University of Twente.

Mitra's research is focused on spatio-temporal and mobility data modeling. She designs algorithms that process trajectories of moving objects such as cars, people, and animals. Such research is targeting applications in crowd monitoring, smart mobility, and urban planning. Her goal is to make such variety of mobility-based applications more accessible through automating the process of learning models from raw mobility data.

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Chuan Luo

Chuan joined the ADA Research Group in July 2017 as a postdoctoral researcher, under the supervision of Prof. Holger H. Hoos. Before joining the ADA Research Group, Chuan was an assistant professor at the Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (China). Chuan received his PhD degree in computer science from Peking University (China) in 2016.

Chuan's current research interests include heuristic search, programming by optimisation (PbO) and automated machine learning (AutoML). He has developed several state-of-the-art stochastic local search algorithms for Boolean satisfiability and maximum satisfiability, and received the Best Sequential Solver Award in Random Track, SAT Challenge 2012. Currently, he is working on developing the Sparkle platform, which is a PbO-based multi-agent problem-solving platform and would provide many algorithm optimisation techniques to light your solvers.

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Marie Anastacio

Marie joined the ADA Research Group in september 2017 as a PhD student. She is working on grey-box algorithm configuration, under the supervision of Holger H. Hoos and Thomas Bäck. She graduated in computer engineering at Université Technologique de Belfort-Montbéliard (France) in 2012. She did a research internship in computer vision followed by a master thesis in natural language processing, at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (Canada).

Marie's research interests include image processing, intelligent agents, and general machine learning. She likes to combine them with her interests in music, art, and social sciences.

[ Google ScholarResearchGateLinkedIn ]


Jesper van Engelen

Jesper joined the ADA Research Group in August 2017 and is currently conducting research in the field of automated semi-supervised learning for his Master's thesis. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Leiden University in 2013, and started his Master's degree there in 2015. In the Fall of 2016, he was a visiting student at the ETH Zürich in Switzerland.

Jesper's research interests include semi-supervised learning, AutoML, social network analysis, and general machine learning. Besides the occasional skiing or hiking trip, he enjoys working on open-source software in his spare time.

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Can Wang

Can joined the ADA Research Group in January, 2018 as a PhD candidate under the supervision of Holger H. Hoos and Thomas Bäck. Before joining the ADA Research Group, she was a researcher under the supervision of Beng Chin Ooi at School of Computing, National University of Singapore. Can received her master degrees from Ecole Centrale Paris (France) and Universite libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) by majoring in computer science in 2017.

Can's research interests include automated machine learning, dynamic data analytics, data mining and general machine learning. Currently she is working at project 'Dynamic Data Analytics through automatically Constructed Machine Learning Pipelines'. This research aims at developing a platform for dynamic data analytics that is based on techniques for automatically constructing machine learning pipelines for the task at hand.

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Sam Bayless (postdoctoral fellow) - works on SAT solvers and applications to circuit design and data centre operations, co-supervised by Alan Hu at UBC.

Chris Fawcett (PhD student) - works on algorithm parameter importance, empirical performance analysis, compiler parameter optimisation, AI planning and scheduling.

Julieta Martinez (PhD student) - works on vector compression, deep learning and computer vision applications, co-supervised by Jim Little at UBC.

Chris Cameron (PhD student) - works on algorithm selection and configuration; co-supervised by Kevin Leyton-Brown at UBC.

Yasha Pushak (PhD student) - works on algorithm configuration for scaling and empirical performance analysis (scaling analysis, environment noise).


Adjunct members

Thomas Bäck - Professor of Natural Computing, Leiden University

Lars Kotthoff - Assistant Professor, University of Wyoming