charalampos babis e tsourakakis 3 rd year graduate student
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Charalampos (Babis) E. Tsourakakis 3 rd Year Graduate Student. A Student’s Perspective. Open House February 26 th , 2010. Congratulations!. Carnegie Mellon University is a historical university with living history.

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charalampos babis e tsourakakis 3 rd year graduate student
Charalampos (Babis) E. Tsourakakis

3rdYear Graduate Student

A Student’s Perspective

Open House

February 26th , 2010

  • Carnegie Mellon University is a historical university with living history.

Stephen Fienberg

Larry Wasserman

Alan Frieze

Herbert Simon

Avrim Blum

Manuel Blum

Tom Mitchell,

Head of MLD

Carlos Guestrin

John Lafferty

Admission highly competitive!

Alen Newell

few words about the speaker
Few Words about the Speaker
  • International Student (Hellene, ECE NTUA)
  • 2007-2009 worked with Christos Faloutsos on Data Mining (Tensors, Graphs and Large Scale Data Mining using Hadoop)
  • Switched at the end of the second year.
  • Now,

Algorithm Design (TCS)

Manifold Learning (ML)

Breast Cancer Evolution (App)

Gary Miller

Russell Schwartz

e.g., Miller Primality Test

e.g., decoding human genome

typical timeline at cmu
Typical Timeline at CMU

Data analysis project, speaking skills

( get MS)



Change/add advisor

(if you want)

Immigration course:

faculty gives talks,

you choose advisor

Start doing research!

(publish 1st paper)

Summer internships


5 … 






Conduct research

  • Coursework: 5 core courses:
  • Intermediate statistics, ML
  • Stat ML, Algorithms, Data mining
  • +3 electives (1 from statistics)

TA for 2 classes

Enjoy dept. tea gathering and TGs

choosing your advisor s
Choosing your Advisor(s)
  • Very critical choice for your career.
  • Great faculty to choose from.
  • Make a good choice by:
    • choosing a project that excites you
    • making sure that you and your advisor have the same research “mentality” (Ask yourself, do you like more applications, theory, a mixture of them and what proportion from each)
    • reading papers of your potential advisors
coursework very flexible
Coursework (very flexible)
  • Year 1:
    • Intermediate statistics
    • Intro machine learning
    • Stat. machine learning
    • Algorithms
  • Year 2:
    • Data mining
    • Advanced Discrete Math: Additive Number Theory
    • Advanced Discrete Math:Mixing times and Markov Chains
    • Computational Methods for Biological Modeling and Simulation
  • Many ML classes
    • Graduate ML
    • Statistical ML
    • Graphical models
    • Convex optimization
    • Graduate AI
    • Learning theory
    • Bayesian methods
    • Comp bio + learning
    • Computational Complexity
    • Randomized algorithms
    • Approximation algorithms
    • Lots of area-specific machine learning (text, bio, brain, …)

(Some of my electives)

on the way to a phd
On the way to a PhD
  • Requirements
    • Speaking skills
    • Data analysis project
  • You have an advisor(s)
    • who is (are) “responsible” for you
  • Black Friday meetings
    • You fill out a form
    • All the faculty discuss every student
    • You (and your advisor(s)) get feedback
big community
Big community
  • MLD Seminars:
    • MLD/Google seminar
    • Intelligence seminar
    • Machine learning lunch
      • organized by students
  • Many other seminars:
    • Theory, LTI, Robotics,…
  • MLD weekly tea gathering
  • TGs (Thank Goodness It’s Friday)
  • A city which has two main advantages which are typically inversely proportional:
    • Many things to do around, good restaurants, nice coffee shops, bars, pubs, dancing places etc.
    • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to travel to other beautiful cities which are near, e.g., Philadelphia, New York City, Toronto.
weather in pittsburgh
Weather in Pittsburgh

You can feel all

four seasons

while in Pittsburgh

health insurance
Health Insurance
  • Different Health Plans
    • Basic (<~1K for a year)
    • Enhanced
    • +Dental
    • +Vision
  • CMU Health Services
  • UPMC
  • My personal experience so far has been more than good.
  • Most of the students live in Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Oakland.
  • Other neighborhoods: Bloomfield, Point Breeze, Regent Square.
  • If you do not own a car, make sure that you pick a place with many buses coming by from there (e.g., Squirrel Hill, Shadyside)
  • Great places to live for really good prices.
gates hillman center
Gates Hillman Center
  • An excellent environment for conducting research, having pleasant breaks (great coffee on the 3rd floor), interesting research discussions on a whiteboard, Tea Parties.
cmu offers you a lot
CMU Offers you a lot!







Ski (Seven Springs

Resort) with

student prices ~15$



Scuba Diving


cmu offers you a lot1
CMU Offers you a lot!

Chess Club


Volleyball, Basketball



  • Publications Travelling.
  • I have visited Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Stanford, New York.
  • Meeting Scientists from all over the world
  • Attend highly interesting talks (some of them).
  • Communicate your ideas, get people to learn about your research.
  • See and explore new places.
ithaca c cavafy
Ithaca (C. Cavafy)

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge….

…Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all…

Welcome to CMU and Congratulations again!

  • Joseph Bradley for sharing previous year’s slides.
  • Jernej Barbic

Diane Stidle

“Mother” of MLD