Hi! My name is Serdar. I am the Group VP of Artificial Intelligence at Fidelity Investments and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Dept. of Computer Science at Brown University. Previously, I led the Advanced Constraint Technology R&D group at Oracle and worked at Adobe.
My algorithmic research is at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Discrete Optimization, while my practical interests are in building robust, scalable, data-driven products that address business-critical problems.
In parallel with my industry role, I serve in the (senior) programme committee of AAAI, IJCAI, ECAI, and similar research organizations. Teaching and learning from students are integral parts of my work.
Our teams focus on Personalization, Recommender System, and Marketing Campaign Optimization from ideation to productionization across i) digital channels for customers over the web, mobile, email, and conversational agents, and ii) distribution channels for associates over the regional centers and branches.
Our applied research is featured at NVIDIA GTC and a summary of our recent research contributions can be found in Year in Review 2022 and Year in Review 2021. Here is a recent talk that covers some of our open-source work Building Recommender Systems: A Case Study with Open Source Software [video]
Internally, I guide the research agenda of the AI Center, serve as a liaison between data science, engineering and business teams and scale out the efforts on model governance, interpretability, fairness, and bias mitigation for the enterprise.
Externally, I coordinate strategic partnerships with the high-tech industry, including Amazon, Google, and NVIDIA, and research institutions including CMU, Harvard, and MIT. I lead Fidelity’s efforts in open source AI software, help organize college recruiting programs and mentor students, especially those from underrepresented groups through internships and co-op opportunities.
I led the Advanced Constraint Technology R&D team to deploy state-of-the-art optimization solutions for Oracle products facing industry-scale problems in Supply Chain & Logistics, Planning & Scheduling, Cloud Management, and Product Configuration.
Our contributions at Oracle were recognized with an Entrepreneurship Award, received funding for CMU-Oracle joint research collaboration, and covered in the media by Business Insider as Oracle Rockstars.
I built a context-free grammar-based evolutionary algorithm to generate automated test cases for the ActionScript virtual machine. This automated fuzzer helped discover critical software vulnerabilities that were later on fixed before any global exploits.
I received my Ph.D. in CS from Brown under the supervision of Prof. Meinolf Sellmann. My doctorate thesis explored deterministic inference methods for constraint satisfaction, search protocols for constrained optimization, and stochastic local search. During my studies, I also had the chance to work at the Combinatorial Optimization Group in Sweden as a visiting researcher hosted by Prof. Pierre Flener.
My research work was awarded the IBM PhD Scholarship, and I was a recipient of the Paris Kanellakis Fellowship. In addition, our group at Brown designed automated algorithm configurators that won several gold medals in the International SAT Solver Competitions.
I founded the Sport Czar@Brown and was the captain of ByteSoccer, the department’s soccer team with back-to-back intramural championships. I continue to serve the Brown community as an alumni interviewer for undergraduate university admissions.
I received my B.Sc. in CS from Sabanci with the generous support of the Sakip Sabanci Merit Scholarship. As an Erasmus exchange student, I also studied in Uppsala. I continue to serve the Sabanci community as an external committee member and through Crossing Paths, a non-profit organization to reduce inequality of opportunity in education.
Outside of work, I am an avid soccer fan; playing, watching, and coaching youth soccer. In a parallel universe, I hope to be the professor of assists.