New Directions in Theoretical Machine Learning

Date & Time


Schloss Elmau
In Elmau 2, 82493 Krün Germany

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Registration Closed
Invitation Only

Participation is by invitation only. All participants must register.

Sanjeev Arora, Princeton University
Maria-Florina Balcan, Carnegie Mellon University
Sanjoy Dasgupta, University of California, San Diego
Sham Kakade, University of Washington

The Simons Symposium on New Directions in Theoretical Machine Learning will bring together a select group of experts with diverse skills and backgrounds to discuss the following questions:

  • How can we build on the recent success in supervised learning for perceptual and related tasks?
  • What’s next for ML if perception gets solved?
  • Is the current set of methods sufficient to take us to the next level of “intelligent” reasoning?
  • If not, what is missing, and how can we rectify it?
  • What role can classical ideas in Reasoning, Representation Learning, Reinforcement Learning, Interactive Learning, etc. have to play?
  • What modes of analyses do we need to even conceptualize the next level of machine capabilities, and what will be good ways to test those capabilities?

Organizers hope to steer the conversation toward fundamental concepts rather than incremental improvements.


  • Agendaplus--large


    8:30 - 9:30 PMDinner at La Salle


    7:30 - 9:45 AMBreakfast at La Salle
    10:00 - 11:00 AMChristian Szegedy | Is Math Only for Humans?
    11:00-11:30 AMBreak
    11:30 - 12:30 PMTom Mitchell | TBA
    12:30 - 1:30 PMLunch at La Salle
    1:30 - 4:30 PMDiscussion & Recreation*
    4:30- 5:00 PMTea
    5:00 - 6:00 PMDan Roth | Incidental Supervision and Reasoning Challenges
    6:00 - 6:15 PMBreak
    6:15 - 7:15 PMSanjeev Arora | Discussion: Thoughts on a theory for unsupervised learning, with applications to RL, learning to learn, etc.
    8:00 - 9:30 PMDinner: Ganesha Restaurant in the Retreat


    7:30 - 9:45 AMBreakfast at La Salle
    10:00 - 11:00 AMDrew Bagnell | Imitation, Feedback and Games
    11:00-11:30 AMBreak
    11:30 - 12:30 PMEmo Todorov | Model-based Control
    Andreas Krause | Towards Safe Reinforcement Learning
    12:30 - 1:30 PMLunch at La Salle
    1:30 - 4:30 PMDiscussion & Recreation*
    4:30- 5:00 PMTea
    5:00 - 6:00 PMYisong Yue | Blending Learning & Control via Functional Regularization
    6:00 - 6:15 PMBreak
    6:15 - 7:15 PMElad Hazan | New Algorithms and Directions in Reinforcement Learning
    8:00 - 9:30 PMDinner


    7:30 - 9:30 AMBreakfast
    9:45 - 2:00 PMGuided Hike to Partnach Gorge
    2:00 - 3:00 PMLunch at Ganesha Restaurant in the Retreat
    3:00 - 4:30 PMRecreation & Discussion
    4:30 - 5:00 PMTea
    5:00 - 6:00 PMTBA | TBA
    6:00 - 6:15 PMBreak
    6:15 - 7:15 PMPhillip Isola | From Amoebas to Infants: Toward the Evolution and Development of Prior Knowledge
    8:00 - 9:30 PMDinner


    7:30 - 9:45 AMBreakfast at La Salle
    10:00 - 11:00 AMDorsa Sadigh | Machine Learning for Human-Robot Systems
    11:00-11:30 AMBreak
    11:30 - 12:30 PMEmma Brunskill | Machine Learning Challenges from Computers that Learn to Help People
    12:30 - 1:30 PMLunch at La Salle
    1:30 - 4:30 PMDiscussion & Recreation*
    4:30- 5:00 PMTea
    5:00 - 6:00 PMBernhard Schölkopf | Toward causal learning
    6:00 - 6:15 PMBreak
    6:15 - 7:15 PMSanjoy Dasgupta | Using Interaction to Overcome Basic Hurdles in Learning
    Daniel Hsu | Interactive Learning via Reductions
    8:00 - 9:30 PMDinner


    7:30 - 9:45 AMBreakfast at La Salle
    10:00 - 11:00 AMUlrike Luxburg | Comparison-based Machine Learning
    Nina Balcan | Data-driven/Machine-learning Augmented Algorithm Design
    11:00-11:30 AMBreak
    11:30 - 12:30 PMGuy Van den Broeck | Circuit Languages as a Synthesis of Learning and Reasoning
    12:30 - 1:30 PMLunch at La Salle
    1:30 - 4:30 PMDiscussion & Recreation*
    4:30- 5:00 PMTea
    5:00 - 6:00 PMKamalika Chaudhuri | New Directions in Privacy-preserving Data Analysis
    Moritz Hardt | TBA (assume fairness related)
    6:00 - 6:15 PMBreak
    6:15 - 7:15 PMTengyu Ma | Data-dependent Regularization and Sample Complexity Bounds of Deep Neural Networks
    8:00 - 9:30 PMDinner: Kaminstüberl Fondue Restaurant


    SESSIONSPavilion located at the Schloss Elmau Retreat
    MEALSLa Salle unless otherwise noted
    TEA & DISCUSSIONPavilion located at the Schloss Elmau Retreat
    EXCURSION Meet in Schloss Elmau Lobby
    SATURDAY DEPARTUREMeet in Schloss Elmau Lobby

    *Participants may explore the hotel property and its surrounding areas as well as engage in informal discussion with other participants.

  • Participantsplus--large
    Sanjeev AroraPrinceton University
    Drew BagnellCarnegie Mellon University
    Maria-Florina BalcanCarnegie Mellon University
    Emma BrunskillStanford University
    Kamalika ChaudhuriUniversity of California, San Diego
    Sanjoy DasguptaUniversity of California, San Diego
    Moritz HardtUniversity of California Berkeley
    Elad HazanPrinceton University
    Daniel HsuColumbia University
    Phillip IsolaMassachusetts Institute of Technology
    Sham KakadeUniversity of Washington
    Andreas KrauseETH Zürich
    Tengyu MaStanford University
    Tom MitchellCarnegie Mellon University
    Dan RothUniversity of Pennsylvania
    Dorsa SadighStanford University
    Bernard SchölkopfMax Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
    Christian SzegedyGoogle
    Emo TodorovUniversity of Washington
    Guy van den BroeckUniversity of California, Los Angeles
    Ulrike von LuxburgUniversität of Tübingen
    Yisong YueCalifornia Institute of Technology
  • AVplus--large

    Participants will have access to a projector and screen for computer-based talks and blackboards for those who prefer to give board-based talks.

    High-speed Internet access is available.

  • Wednesday Excursionplus--large

    On Wednesday symposium activities are shortened for a guided hiking tour from Schloss-Elmau through the Partnach Gorge. The hike difficulty is moderate and will take approximately 3 hours.

    If you will participate in the hike, hiking boots or shoes appropriate for traversing rocky/wet terrain, warm clothing (e.g. a sweater), sun protection (e.g. light cap) and waterproofs (e.g. raincoat or umbrella) are strongly recommended.

    A small satchel containing a light snack and water is provided, but feel free to bring your own backpack in which to carry a camera and other items that may be useful to you.

  • Travelplus--large


    The foundation will coordinate and purchase air and train travel to the symposium. Travel specifications can be provided by clicking the registration link above.

    Participants arriving via plane will arrive via Munich International Airport (MUC) Airport.


    The closet train station to Schloss Elmau is in Klais. Those traveling by train should book their tickets directly and request reimbursement at the conclusion of the meeting. Should you require booking assistance, please contact Meghan Fazzi.

    All participants are required to arrive on Sunday prior to the meeting’s start and attend the entire week. No accommodations will be made for partial participation.


    Passports are required.

    Local Ground Transportation

    Arrival at Munich International Airport

    The foundation will arrange for your transfer from MUC airport to Schloss Elmau via a private car. After claiming your luggage at baggage claim you will proceed through customs and to the exit where a uniformed driver holding a Simons Symposia sign will greet you.

    Travel time from Munich to Schloss Elmau is 90 minutes.

    Arrival at Klais Train Station

    The foundation will arrange for your transfer from Klais train station to Schloss Elmau via a hotel shuttle.

    Travel time from Klais to Elmau is approximately 10 minutes.

    Departure from Schloss Elmau

    The day prior to your departure you will receive a departure letter advising on your departure time to the airport or train station via private car. Please meet your driver in the hotel lobby ten minutes prior to your noted departure time. If for any reason your flight departure time changes, please visit the front desk to update hotel staff.

  • Hotelplus--large

    Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa & Cultural Hideaway

    In Elmau 2, 82493 Krün
    Tel: +49 (0) 8823 18-0

    Check-in time is at 4:30 PM
    Check-out time is 11:30 AM

    Additional Night at Elmau

    The meeting concludes on Friday evening. Participants have the option to depart on Saturday following the conclusion of the meeting or depart on Sunday at no additional cost. Please note your desired departure date when registering.

    Dress Code

    Business casual clothing should be worn during the symposium.

    The weather can change very quickly; please bring cold-weather clothing appropriate for spring in the mountains.

  • Mealsplus--large

    Sunday and Saturday: Meals on arrival and departure days (including while traveling) are reimbursable by the foundation. Your meals on these days are not to exceed $115 USD.

    Monday through Friday: All meals occurring during the meeting week will be covered directly by the Simons Foundation. Participants are expected to be present for all foundation-hosted meals.

    Breakfast is served starting at 7:30 AM at La Salle restaurant. Food at La Salle is served buffet-style and is open to all hotel guests; tables are reserved for all symposium participants so that the group may dine together.

    Lunch is served daily at La Salle.

    Dinner is hosted around the hotel property at one of the restaurants. Locations are noted on the agenda.

  • Contactsplus--large

    Registration and Travel Assistance

    Christophe Vergnol, Protravel
    (973) 334-9300 ext. 10

    Meeting Questions and Assistance

    Meghan Fazzi
    Senior Executive Assistant, Simons Foundation
    (212) 524-6080

  • Reimbursement and Travel Policyplus--large


    Any expenses not directly paid for by the Simons Foundation are subject to reimbursement based on the travel policy. Please review the policy and complete when submitting your expenses. Receipts are required for any expenses over $50 USD and are due within THIRTY DAYS (30) after the conclusion of the symposium. All expenses are reconciled through the foundation’s online reimbursement platform. Additional information regarding reimbursement is sent via email on the final day of the symposium.

    Should you have any questions, please contact Meghan Fazzi.

    Guest Policy

    It is the foundation’s policy to discourage spouses, families or others from joining participants during the meeting. Participants who choose to invite guests to come before or stay on after the meeting do so at their own expense. The Simons Foundation will not cover expenses associated with such extensions.

    Additional Nights

    Should you decide to extend your stay, Schloss Elmau will honor the conference rate of €337.50/night for up to two nights. Any nights beyond those associated with the conference are not reimbursable by the foundation.

    Please note on your registration form if you wish to extend your stay.

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