I think I always wanted to be a researcher! Some people like to create through paint or music. Instead, I like to create through mathematics.

Education and early career

After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Idiap Research Institute, Switzerland, and the University of Milan, Italy, Professor Francesco Orabona joined the Toyota Technological Institute, Chicago, U.S., as a research assistant professor in 2011. 

Following this, he became a senior research scientist at Yahoo Labs, New Jersey, U.S., an assistant professor at Stony Brook University, New York, U.S., and an associate professor at Boston University, U.S.

Areas of expertise and current scientific interests

Dr. Orabona’s research interests focus on the theory and application of machine learning and online learning algorithms. He is particularly interested in adaptive and parameter-free learning and optimization algorithms, i.e., algorithms that do not require “humans-in-the-loop” to achieve the best performance.

Editorial activities

  • Area chair for the conferences Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), the Conference on Learning Theory (COLT), the International Conference on Algorithmic Learning Theory (ALT), and the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR).
  • Associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, 2022.
  • Action editor of the Journal of Machine Learning Research, 2020.
  • Co-Chair of the 34th International Conference on Algorithmic Learning Theory.

Career recognitions

  • NSF CAREER Award (2021).
  • Google Research Award (2017).
  • Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Image Analysis and Processing (2015).
  • Ranked first in the ImageCLEF Medical Annotation Task (2008 and 2009).
  • Best Paper Award at the International Workshop on Attention and Performance in Computational Vision (2005).


I am very excited to join KAUST! I believe it is a fantastic opportunity for me to work with amazing scientists in a truly multicultural environment. The next few years will be pivotal in the research on artificial intelligence and I believe that being in the right place can make a huge difference.

Research interests

  • Parameter-free optimization
  • Online learning
  • Optimization
  • Machine learning
  • Statistical learning theory


  • Laurea Degree (B.S. & M.S.) in Electrical Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Italy, 2003.
  • Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, University of Genoa, Italy, 2007.