Ep42 Anima Anandkumar
In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan hosts Anima Anandkumar, a Bren Professor of Computing at California Institute of Technology (the youngest named chair professor at Caltech) and the Senior Director of AI Research at NVIDIA, where she leads a group developing the next generation of AI algorithms. Her work has spanned healthcare, robotics, and climate change modeling. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NSF Career Award, and was most recently named an ACM Fellow, among many other prestigious honors and recognitions. Her work has been extensively covered on PBS, in Wired magazine, MIT Tech Review, YourStory, and Forbes, with a focus on using AI for good.
Anima talks about her journey, growing up in a house where computer science was a way of life and family members who served as strong role models. She shares her path in education and research at the highly selective IIT-Madras, the importance of a strong background in math in her computing work, and some of the breakthrough moments in her career, including work on using tensor algorithms to process large datasets. Anima spends some time discussing topic modeling and reinforcement learning, what drives her interests, the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration, and the promise and challenges brought about by the age of generative AI.