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Learning Theory Alliance and Mentoring Workshop

Surbhi Goel, Nika Haghtalab, and Ellen Vitercik are the organizers of an excellent new initiative called the Learning Theory Alliance. They have the following inspiring mission statement:

Our mission is to develop a strong, supportive learning theory community and ensure its healthy growth by fostering inclusive community engagement and encouraging active contributions from researchers at all stages of their careers.

Their first event is a mentoring workshop, to be held at ALT 2021. I’ll be helping out by mentoring the creation of some written ALT highlights. Read on for more details from the organizers.

We are pleased to announce the first Learning Theory Mentorship Workshop in collaboration with the Conference on Algorithmic Learning Theory (ALT) 2021 to be held virtually on March 4-5, 2021. The workshop will focus on building technical and networking skills while giving participants an opportunity to interact with fellow researchers in the field. 

The workshop is intended for upper-level undergraduate and all-level graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers who are excited about the possibility of learning theory research. No prior research experience in the field is expected.

We have several planned events including:

  • How-to talks which will provide general advice about giving talks, structuring papers, writing reviews, networking, and attending conferences.
  • A small group discussion dissecting a short talk with feedback from a senior researcher.
  • An informal and interactive “Ask Me Anything” sessionwith a senior member of the learning theory community.
  • General audience talks about recent learning theory research which will be accessible to new researchers.
  • Social events such as board games.

Our lineup includes Jacob Abernethy, Kamalika Chaudhuri, Nadav Cohen, Rafael Frongillo, Shafi Goldwasser, Zhiyi Huang, Robert Kleinberg, Pravesh Kothari, Po-Ling Loh, Lester Mackey, Jamie Morgenstern, Praneeth Netrapalli, Vatsal Sharan and Mary Wootters.

Together with Gautam Kamath, we will also organize a written account of ALT titled “ALT Highlights” which will summarize the research presented at ALT. We will assist students and postdocs to set up interviews with presenters and keynote speakers as part of the highlights.

A short application form is required to participate with an application deadline of Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Students with backgrounds that are underrepresented or underserved in related fields are especially encouraged to apply. We will be accommodating all time zones. More information can be found on the event’s website:

This workshop is part of our broader community building initiative called the Learning Theory Alliance (advised by Peter Bartlett, Avrim Blum, Stefanie Jegelka, Po-Ling Loh and Jenn Wortman Vaughan). Check out for more details and to sign up to volunteer.

Surbhi Goel, Nika Haghtalab and Ellen Vitercik


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