Professor Quanquan Gu is among 118 scientists and scholars selected today to receive the 2022 Sloan Research Fellowships.

The fellowships, among the most competitive and prestigious awards available to early-career researchers, are often seen as evidence of the quality of an institution’s science, math and economics faculty. MIT, with seven new faculty fellows, had the second most.

“Today’s Sloan Research Fellows represent the scientific leaders of tomorrow,” said Adam Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “As formidable young scholars, they are already shaping the research agenda within their respective fields — and their trailblazing won’t end here.”

Gu leads UCLA’s Statistical Machine Learning Lab. In his research on machine learning, he is developing and analyzing what are known as non-convex optimization algorithms to understand large-scale, dynamic, complex and heterogeneous data and is building the theoretical foundations of deep learning. Gu aims to make machine learning algorithms more efficient and reliable for a variety of applications, including recommendation systems, computational genomics, artificial intelligence for personalized health care, and government decision-making. In March 2020, he and his research team launched a machine learning model to predict the spread of COVID-19 — a model that has informed predictions by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sloan Research Fellowships are intended to enhance the careers of exceptional young scientists and scholars in chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience and physics. Fellows receive a two-year, $75,000 award to support their research from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which was established in 1934.

Fifty-three Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, including Andrea Ghez, UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics, in 2020. Seventeen have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 69 have received the National Medal of Science and 22 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics.