Manik Varma

Distinguished Scientist & Vice President, Microsoft Research India
Adjunct Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

I am a Distinguished Scientist and Vice President at Microsoft Research India where my primary job is to not come in the way of a team carrying out research on various aspects of machine learning, information retrieval, natural language processing, systems and related areas. I also specialize in professing random gyan to my PhD students at IIT Delhi. For instance, I once proclaimed 2 KB (RAM) ought to be enough for everybody prompting the international media to cover my research and compare me to Bill Gates (unfair, I'm more handsome!). Similarly, John Langford and I once coined the term extreme classification and found that we had inadvertently started a new research area in machine learning. Today, by happenstance, extreme classification is thriving in both academia and industry with my algorithms making billions of predictions every day and generating billions of dollars in revenue (up to sign ambiguity). I have, on occasion, also been known to do something useful such as developing classifiers that have protected hundreds of millions of devices from viruses and malware. I have served as an associate editor-in-Chief of the IEEE TPAMI journal as well as a Senior Area Chair for most of the premiere machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer vision conferences. I have been elected a Fellow of the Indian Academies of Science (IASc, INSA and NASI), the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). I have also been awarded the Government of India's Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, have won the Microsoft Gold Star and Achievement awards, the WSDM 2019 Best Paper and BuildSys 2019 Best Paper Runner -up Prizes, won the PASCAL VOC Object Detection Challenge at ICCV 2009 and stood first in chicken chess tournaments and Pepsi drinking competitions. Upon learning about this, my son was overheard asking my daughter: How can Dad get a prize for computer science -- he can't even book an Uber by himself? Since then, I have felt it safest to describe myself as a failed physicist (BSc St. Stephen's College, David Raja Ram Prize), theoretician (BA Oxford, Rhodes Scholar), engineer (DPhil Oxford, University Scholar), mathematician (MSRI Berkeley, Post-doctoral Fellow) or astronomer (Visiting Miller Professor, UC Berkeley).


I am interested in the following research areas

Joining my group: I am actively looking to hire researchers and post-docs with a strong publication record in any area of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at MSR India. I am also looking to hire exceptional engineers and data scientists. Finally, I am also looking for full time PhD students at IIT Delhi to work with me on extreme classification. Please e-mail your CV to me directly in addition to formally applying to IIT/Microsoft.

Projects, Internships and Research Fellowships: Unfortunately, I am unable to supervise projects or theses of students outside IIT Delhi. I am also unable to directly work with Research Fellows or interns at MSR India. . I get more e-mails on the topic than I can deal with, so I hope that you will accept my apologies and excuse me as I will not be able to respond to you.

Professional Activities



Current PhD Students

Some Former Students