Professor Aditya Grover was honored with the AI Researcher of The Year award at the Samsung AI Forum in South Korea. Started in 2020, this award is given to the most promising researchers worldwide in artificial intelligence under the age of 35. The Award Committee was chaired by Turing Award winner Yoshua Bengio. Grover was one of the 5 recipients of the award this year selected from more than 150 candidates. Past recipients include assistant professors at MIT and Stanford as well as Cho-Jui Hsieh from UCLA, who received the award in 2020.

The Award Committee recognized Grover for his long-standing fundamental contributions in generative modeling and his recent research that builds on these ideas for sequential decision making under uncertainty. They also acknowledge his work for its real-world impact as he grounded his research in real-world applications in climate and sustainability. Grover led the development of the node2vec algorithm for graph representation learning which currently has 8000+ citations and has been deployed in production at major technology companies. In 2020, Grover was also the co-first author on a paper applying machine learning for efficient charging of electric batteries published in Nature.

In his award contribution speech, Grover presented his group’s research in using generative approaches for flexible sequential decision making under uncertainty. The promise is that these approaches will scale to large multi-modal datasets and generalize to diverse paradigms for sequential decision making similar to that of recent breakthroughs in language and perception models (e.g., GPT-3, DALL-E, Whisper). Beyond foundational progress, Grover and his group are also extending this research program for real-world applications in data-driven climate science and sustainable energy.

This recognition complements his many recent achievements since joining UCLA. In 2021, Grover’s PhD thesis on “Learning to represent and reason under limited supervision” was awarded the ACM SIGKDD Doctoral Dissertation Award. In 2022, Grover received faculty awards from Adobe, Google, Meta, and Sony.