Manik Varma

Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research India
Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, IIT Delhi

I am a researcher at Microsoft Research India and an adjunct professor of computer science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. My research interests lie in the areas of machine learning, computational advertising and computer vision. Classifiers that I have developed have been deployed on millions of devices around the world and have protected them from viruses and malware. My algorithms are also generating millions of dollars on the Bing search engine (up to sign ambiguity). In 2013, John Langford and I coined the term extreme classification and found that we had inadvertently started a new area in machine learning. Today, by happenstance, extreme classification is thriving in both academia and industry with my classifiers being used in various Microsoft products as well as in the wider tech sector. I recently proclaimed 2 KB (RAM) ought to be enough for everybody prompting the media in the US, India, China, France, Belgium and Singapore to cover my research and compare me to Bill Gates (unfair, I'm more handsome!). I have been awarded the Microsoft Gold Star award, the Microsoft Achievement award, won the PASCAL VOC Object Detection Challenge and stood first in chicken chess tournaments and Pepsi drinking competitions. I have served as an area chair/senior PC member for machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer vision conferences such as AAAI, CVPR, ICCV, ICML, IJCAI and NIPS and am serving as an associate editor of the IEEE PAMI journal. I am also a failed physicist (BSc St. Stephen's College, David Raja Ram Prize), theoretician (BA Oxford, Rhodes Scholar), engineer (DPhil Oxford, University Scholar) and mathematician (MSRI Berkeley, Post-doctoral Fellow).


I am interested in the following research areas

Joining my group: I am looking for full time PhD students at IIT Delhi and Research Fellows at Microsoft Research India to work with me on research problems in supervised machine learning, extreme classification, recommender systems and resource constrained machine learning for the Internet of Things. Please e-mail your CV to me directly in addition to formally applying to IIT/Microsoft's programmes. IIT offers PhD Fellowships in collaboration with Microsoft and many other labs such as Facebook, Google, IBM and TCS. Please look at the CSE and SIT Departments' web pages for more details and other funding opportunities.

Projects: Unfortunately, I am unable to supervise projects of students outside IIT Delhi. If you are an external student and would like to work with me then the best way would be to join IIT Delhi's PhD programmes or apply for a Research Fellowship at MSR India.

Internships: If you are a PhD student looking to do an internship with me then please e-mail me directly. I have only one or two internship slots and competition is stiff so please apply early. Please do not apply to me or e-mail me about internships if you are not a PhD student as I will not be able to respond to you.

Professional Activities



Current PhD Students