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McKelvey School of Engineering

ESE 527 Seminar: Babak Hodjat

Friday, January 28 | 12:00 PM

Virtual Event

Babak Hodjat is the CTO for AI at Cognizant where he leads a team of developers and researchers bringing advanced AI solutions to businesses. Babak is the former co-founder and CEO of Sentient, responsible for the core technology behind the world’s largest distributed artificial intelligence system. Babak was also the founder of the world's first AI-driven hedge-fund, Sentient Investment Management.

Abstract: Deep Learning systems are at the heart of many AI breakthroughs in recent years. Another AI discipline, which, like Neural Networks, was conceived in the early years of Computing is Evolutionary Computations (EC). We will show how EC complements Neural Networks and Deep Learning, enabling Neuro-Architecture Search for AutoML, as well as practical multi-objective decision systems. This marriage of Neural Networks and Evolutionary Computation can even improve certain aspects of Reinforcement Learning. Evolutionary Algorithms are representation agnostic and replacing neural networks with rule-sets as the substrate can even allow explainable models. We will go over the how and why, as well as demonstrating a range of application use-cases.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology

Electrical & Systems Engineering
Speaker Information

Babak is a serial entrepreneur, having started a number of Silicon Valley companies as main inventor and technologist. Prior to co-founding Sentient, Babak was senior director of engineering at Sybase iAnywhere, where he led mobile solutions engineering. Prior to Sybase, Babak was co-founder, CTO and board member of Dejima Inc. Babak is the primary inventor of Dejima’s patented, agent-oriented technology applied to intelligent interfaces for mobile and enterprise computing – the technology behind Apple’s Siri. Babak has published many papers in the fields of Artificial Life, Agent-Oriented Software Engineering, and Distributed Artificial Intelligence, and has 31 granted or pending patents to his name. He is an expert in numerous fields of AI, including natural language processing, machine learning, genetic algorithms, distributed AI, and has founded multiple companies in these areas. Babak holds a PhD in Machine Intelligence from Kyushu University, in Fukuoka, Japan.

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