Maria-Florina Balcan


Maria-Florina (Nina) Balcan is a Romanian-American computer scientist[1][3] whose research investigates machine learning, algorithmic game theory, theoretical computer science,[1] including active learning, kernel methods, random-sampling mechanisms and envy-free pricing. She is an associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.[4][5][6][7]

Nina Balcan
Maria-Florina Balcan

Alma materUniversity of Bucharest
Carnegie Mellon University (PhD)
AwardsSloan Research Fellowship (2014)
Grace Murray Hopper Award (2019)
Scientific career
FieldsMachine learning
Algorithmic game theory
Theoretical computer science[1]
InstitutionsCarnegie Mellon University
Microsoft Research
Georgia Institute of Technology
ThesisNew Theoretical Frameworks for Machine Learning (2008)
Doctoral advisorAvrim Blum[2] Edit this at Wikidata


Balcan is originally from Romania, and earned a bachelor's degree in 2000 from the University of Bucharest, earning summa cum laude honors with a double major in mathematics and computer science. She continued at the University of Bucharest for a master's degree in computer science in 2002, and then earned a PhD in computer science in 2008 from Carnegie Mellon University[8] where her research was supervised by Avrim Blum.[2][9]

Career and researchEdit

After working as a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research New England, she was appointed assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing in 2009. She returned to Carnegie Mellon as a tenured faculty member in 2014.[8]

Balcan served as program committee co-chair for three major machine learning conferences, including COLT 2014, the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) 2016, and the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) 2020. She is the general chair for ICML 2021.[8]

Awards and honorsEdit

Balcan is a Microsoft Faculty Fellow (2011), a Sloan Research Fellow (2014) and a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2015).[8] She was awarded the 2019 Grace Murray Hopper Award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), for her "foundational and breakthrough contributions to minimally-supervised learning". [10][11] She is a 2021 Simons Investigator.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Maria-Florina Balcan publications indexed by Google Scholar  
  2. ^ a b Balcan, Maria-Florina (2008). New Theoretical Frameworks for Machine Learning (PDF). (PhD thesis). Carnegie Mellon University. ISBN 9780549957577. OCLC 318693401. ProQuest 304668600.
  3. ^ Maria-Florina Balcan at DBLP Bibliography Server  
  4. ^ "Nina Balcan",, Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science, retrieved 2020-05-23
  5. ^ Balcan, Maria-Florina; Beygelzimer, Alina; Langford, John (2009). "Agnostic active learning". Journal of Computer and System Sciences. 75 (1): 78–89. doi:10.1016/j.jcss.2008.07.003. ISSN 0022-0000.
  6. ^ Balcan, Maria-Florina; Broder, Andrei; Zhang, Tong (2007). "Margin Based Active Learning". Learning Theory. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 4539. pp. 35–50. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-72927-3_5. ISBN 978-3-540-72925-9.
  7. ^ Balcan, Maria-Florina; Blum, Avrim; Srebro, Nathan (2008). "A theory of learning with similarity functions". Machine Learning. 72 (1–2): 89–112. doi:10.1007/s10994-008-5059-5. ISSN 0885-6125.
  8. ^ a b c d "Curriculum vitae: Nina Balcan" (PDF),, retrieved 2020-05-23
  9. ^ Maria-Florina Balcan at the Mathematics Genealogy Project  
  10. ^ Maria Balcan Receives 2019 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award, Association for Computing Machinery, April 8, 2020
  11. ^ Anon (2019). "Maria Balcan Named Recipient of ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award for Significant Innovations to Machine Learning".
  12. ^ "Simons Investigators". Simons Foundation. July 10, 2018. Retrieved 2021-07-18.