The Department of Computer Science at Cornell University is very pleased to welcome an incoming roster of new faculty. The six members noted below will be joining us over the coming year in Ithaca and New York City. We look forward to their integration into the life of the department.


Nika Haghtalab, Fall 2019, Ithaca

Nika will join Cornell Computer Science as Assistant Professor in Fall 2019 after completing a postdoc at Microsoft New England. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University; recently interned at Microsoft Research in New York City and in Redmond; and is the recipient of a Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship, an IBM Ph.D. Fellowship, and a Siebel Scholarship. Her research focuses on the theoretical aspects of machine learning and algorithmic economics. She notes a special interest in “developing a theory for machine learning that accounts for its interactions with people and organizations, and the wide range of social and economic limitations, aspiration, and behavior they demonstrate.”

Sasha Rush, Fall 2019, New York City

Sasha will join Cornell Tech as Assistant Professor in Fall 2019. Prior to joining Cornell CS, he was an associate in computer science at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard and a Postdoctoral Fellow with Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) in New York. Sasha received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2014. Sasha’s interest lies in data-driven methods for understanding natural language. As part of this work, he develops algorithms and systems for efficient language processing with the overall goal of synthesizing large textual corpora, such as the web, into computationally useful information. His research focus is on modelling the structural aspects of language for tasks such as syntactic parsing, coreference resolution, language modelling, and part-of-speech tagging. For these problems, he utilizes formal methods from machine learning, combinatorial optimization, and deep learning.

Volodymyr Kuleshov, Spring 2020, New York City

Volodymyr will join the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech as Assistant Professor in Spring 2020. Volodymyr received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, recently completed a post-doc with Stefano Ermon (Cornell CS alumnus), and has had numerous research papers published in machine learning and genomics publications. His research focuses on machine learning and its applications in genomics and personalized medicine, including developing a machine reading system for scientific literature that will help make biomedical knowledge more easily accessible to scientists and clinicians. He also works on core machine learning problems, such as uncertainty estimation techniques and fast approximate inference in probabilistic models.

Wen Sun, Fall 2020, Ithaca

Wen will join Cornell Computer Science as Assistant Professor in Fall 2020. For the 2019-20 academic year, he will be a postdoc researcher at Microsoft Research New York City. He received a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. His key research is in machine learning (especially reinforcement learning), and much of his work focuses on design algorithms for efficient sequential decision making, understanding exploration and exploitation, and how to leverage expert demonstrations to overcome exploration. He looks forward to teaching courses related to machine learning and artificial intelligence, having once co-taught a graduate level course entitled ‘Statistical Techniques in Robotics’—a course about how to use statistics and machine learning techniques for robotics applications such as motion planning, reinforcement learning, adaptive control, simultaneous localization, and mapping (SLAM).

Owolabi Legunsen, Fall 2020, Ithaca

Owolabi will join Cornell Computer Science as Assistant Professor in Fall 2020. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Owolabi’s research interests are in software engineering and applied formal methods with a focus on software testing and runtime verification. Recent research includes runtime verification during testing and regression test selection. In the future, he plans to generalize evolution-awareness to all program analyses so they can be included in developers’ day-to-day workflow and used for proactive bug detection in different development settings, e.g., in personal workspaces, in continuous integration (CI) systems, and in ultra-large ecosystems. 

Abe Davis, Fall 2020, Ithaca

Abe will join Cornell Computer Science as Assistant Professor in Fall 2020. He completed his Ph.D. at MIT in 2016, where he was advised by Fredo Durand, and later became a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University working with Maneesh Agrawala. When reached for comment on his arrival at Cornell, Davis remarked: “A lot of my research interests sit at the intersection of different fields. Recent years have seen a tremendous amount of progress on foundational problems in computer vision and graphics, which has opened up a whole landscape of opportunities for imaging and computation.” Abe’s research involves graphics, vision, and HCI with a keen interest in converting research findings to everyday applications, such as photography, sound, and video. Abe added: “I’m really excited to explore that landscape with the students and other faculty at Cornell.”

We, in the Department of Computer Science, look forward to the arrival of all our newest members. Please join us in offering them a warm welcome.