Peter Bartlett Receives UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award

Peter Bartlett Wide Format Picture

Peter Bartlett has received the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley, where he served as associate director from 2017 to 2022.

The Institute’s associate director is responsible for overseeing the Institute’s programs, with all that entails — providing oversight of the operations team, helping along program organizers to launch and execute successful programs, and managing an annual budget of $7 million. 

In her nomination letter, Simons Institute Director Shafi Goldwasser wrote, “Peter did all of this and more, with superb competence and charm. He made the job seem effortless, although in reality, it was anything but. Moreover, Peter was instrumental in helping the Institute sail through the pandemic without a moment’s lapse. The Simons Institute continued to operate at full force remotely, thanks to Peter’s leadership.”

Peter is a preeminent scholar on the theoretical foundations of machine learning, and during his time at the Simons Institute, he has played a critical role in bringing machine learning to the Institute. Peter founded the Institute’s Machine Learning Research Pod, which he continues to direct, in his current capacity as research director for machine learning. He solicited research programs that brought researchers from around the world to study cutting-edge topics in the field, and he worked closely with program organizers to run a remarkable number of research programs and clusters on a range of interrelated topics, including Interpretable Machine Learning (2022), Learning and Games (2022), Theory of Reinforcement Learning (2020), Deep Learning (2019 and 2022), and Foundations of Data Science (2018). His efforts in this area have helped to establish the Simons Institute as a leading center in the world for research in the theoretical foundations of machine learning.

“The field is in need of theoretical foundations, in order to guarantee robustness, interpretability and transparency,” wrote Goldwasser. “Peter stepped into his role at just the right moment, and through his expertise, vision and hard work, was able to position the Simons Institute to play a unique role in securing a safe future as AI becomes an increasingly dominant force in human society.”

Please join us in congratulating Peter and thanking him for his service to the Institute and the global theoretical computer science community.