Office: 8223 Gates Building
Mails please send to: 6105 Gates Bldg.
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Email: yifeim at cs.cmu.edu
[Google Calendar]

I am in my fifth year of PhD program in Machine Learning, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. My project is on active search and bandit problems with complex actions and rewards. Active search aims to discover all positive targets by examining as few candidate targets and capturing their outcomes as possible in a sequential and adaptive manner. To apply active search to more real and complex scenarios, I assume different models between targets that can be examined and reward of successful discoveries.

The methods that I consider generally belong to the families of Bayesian optimization and multi-armed bandits. For the theory part, I am interested in regret analysis, spectral graph theories, as well as diversity via submodular set functions. I also want to explore online learning and distributed machine learning, which both include an automated decision process about what to prioritize next.



  1. Yifei Ma, Tzu-Kuo Huang, Jeff Schneider. Active Search and Bandits on Graphs Using Sigma-Optimality. UAI 2015. [link]
  2. Yifei Ma, Dougal J. Sutherland, Roman Garnett, Jeff Schneider. Active Pointillistic Pattern Search. AISTATS 2015. Two Shared Lead Authors. [link]
  3. Yifei Ma, Roman Garnett, Jeff Schneider. Active Area Search via Bayesian Quadrature. AISTATS 2014. [link]
  4. Yifei Ma, Roman Garnett, Jeff Schneider. Sigma-Optimality for Active Learning on Gaussian Random Fields. NIPS 2013. [link, poster]
  5. Guangyu Xia, Tongbo Huang, Yifei Ma, Roger B. Dannenberg, Christos Faloutsos. MidiFind: Similarity Search and Popularity Mining in Large MIDI Databases. CMMR 2013: 259-276.
  6. Yifei Ma, Li Li, Xiaolin Huang, Shuning Wang, Robust Support Vector Machine Using Least Median Loss Penalty, Proceedings of the 18th IFAC World Congress, Volume 18, Part 1, 2011. [Submitted pdf][Details]


  1. Yifei Ma, Dougal J. Sutherland, Roman Garnett, Jeff Schneider. Active Pointillistic Pattern Search. NIPS 2014 Workshop on Bayesian Optimization.
  2. Yifei Ma, Roman Garnett, Jeff Schneider. Submodularity in Batch Active Learning and Survey Problems on Gaussian Random Fields. NIPS 2012 Workshop on DISCML.


Citadel LLC. Quantitative Researcher Intern. 5/2014-8/2014 at Chicago.


Ph.D. Student in Machine Learning, Carnegie Mellon University, 8/2011-now.

B.S. in Automation, Dual B.S. in Mathematics, Tsinghua University, 8/2007-7/2011.

Exchange Study (Credits Transferred), Georgia Inst. of Technology, 8/2009-12/2009.

Honors and Awards

Volunteer Experience

Student Activities and Hobbies

Photo of me.