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Dr. Kira Radinsky: ‘Exceptional Innovator’


Dr. Kira Radinsky

Dr. Kira Radinsky

“This is a great honor for me to be nominated to the list of ‘young innovators’ of MIT. I hope that it will encourage more Israeli researchers and scholars to study this field, to facilitate the building of an empirical superpower in Israel,” Dr. Kira Radinsky said in response to news of her selection for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2013 list of 35 young innovators, her lovely face radiating delight.

Every year 35 outstanding young innovators under the age of 35 are chosen from hundreds of candidates in many different fields of research and innovation. Dr. Radinsky made the list as an “exceptional innovator for her outstanding work in the field of software.”

When you hear the name Dr. Radinsky, sounding so solemn with the doctor title, you visualize a sedate scientist. How great is your shock when you happen to glance at her photo and see a beautiful young woman in her early twenties basking in the sunshine of her smile. Then you learn that Kira Radinsky started studying for that title at the Haifa Technion Excellence program as a teenager; she was 15 years of age.

Soon the precocious teenager caught the world’s attention by creating software that can predict different disasters, like outbreaks of disease, violent incidents and natural catastrophes.

Eric Horvitz, head of Microsoft Research, took interest in her work and formed a partnership with her, co-creating the hyped software at Microsoft’s US headquarters. In 2012, Kira and Eric Horvitz co-created a device called SalesPredict, to help salespeople predict the future “with improving their conversion by utilizing big data and predictive analytics” Kira explains.

“My true passion,” she tells the MIT Review, “is arming humanity with scientific capabilities to automatically anticipate, and ultimately affect, future outcomes based on lessons from the past.” When interviewed about the specifics of her program, Kira casually rattles off high tech terminology unintelligible to the average human:

“My primary research focus is Machine Learning, and my mission is to change the way we understand the Temporal aspect in Machine Learning. I aim to learn how to Predict in temporal environments with dynamically changing features, labels and temporal correlations with other objects in the domain. I introduce a general unifying framework for the Temporal Concept Learning problem, which generalized traditional concept learning to deal with the time aspect and provided a modular algorithmic framework to solve this temporal prediction problem. I apply the algorithms in multiple domains such as FOREX, oil trading, weather and hurricane prediction. My current research is now mostly in Temporal Predictions on the Web – including web-page change, ranking in temporal environments, Temporal NLP and social networks change prediction.” She co-founded Promisite CMS services and was also an active developer for Firefox, and later worked in developing recommendation systems in Webshakes. Today, she is working as a researcher at Microsoft Innovation Labs.

Kira Radinsky was born in the Ukraine. She was four years old when her parents made aliyah. Today, besides being a passionate scientist, Kira, a wife and mother, a resident of Zichron Yaakov, is a passionate Israeli. In addition to her work at the Technion, Dr. Radinsky was a programmer in the Israeli Defence Forces for almost 3 years.

While her aim of service to humanity is essential to her, her primary goal is to build Israel into a major scientific power.

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