Dr. Alekh Agarwal
B.Tech., 2007 Computer Science and Engineering

Mr. Alekh Agarwal is currently the Staff Research Scientist at Google Research. After his B.Tech. from IIT Bombay, he received his PhD from UC Berkeley, USA, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, in 2012.

Before moving to Google Research in 2021, Mr. Agarwal worked at Microsoft Research where he led the Reinforcement Learning Research group from 2012-2021. His work on theoretical aspects of machine learning has made fundamental advances in many areas including numerical optimization, large-scale distributed systems, and the principles and practice of reinforcement learning. His work has been widely recognized and Mr. Agarwal has received several best paper awards and accumulated more than 15k citations. Ideas from his work have found their way into training large ML models at places like Google and Microsoft, as well as enabling novel applications through the use of reinforcement learning.

His monograph on the theory of reinforcement learning is a standard reference on the topic and is used in many courses. He serves on the editorial boards of leading journals like the Journal of Machine Learning Research and IEEE Transactions of Information T heory. He also serves in senior organizational roles in several machine learning conferences, including being the Co-program Chair at NeurIPS 2022. He won the Best Paper Award at the NeurIPS 2015 conference, the Outstanding Paper Award Runner up at ICML 2022, and the ACM SIGAI Industry Impact Award 2018.

Hobbies: “Running, hiking, reading.”

Special Memories Associated with IIT Bombay

“The amazing course on Statistical Foundations of Machine Learning by Prof. Soumen Chakrabarti is easily my favourite course that I took at IIT Bombay. The course and the discussions that grew out of it sparked a curiosity about the area in me and provided the bedrock of my career in machine learning research.
The tea and coffee at the staff canteen and coffee shack kept us going during the long lab assignment sessions.”