Cornelia Ilin earned her Ph.D. in Applied Economics from UW Madison. Presently, she serves as an Assistant Professor of Practice within the I School, where she instructs a course focused on Applied Machine Learning and provides guidance to Capstone students enrolled in the Master's of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program.
Prof. Ilin’s research operates at the crossroads of health and environmental studies, leveraging a range of geospatial, causal inference, and machine learning (ML)/artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. She also holds an affiliation with UC Berkeley’s Global Policy Lab, where she contributes her ML/AI expertise to the Aerial History Project. The project’s primary goal is to transform historical aerial photographs captured between the 1940s and 1990s into a dataset that can be directly compared to contemporary satellite imagery. The resulting dataset will be instrumental in various downstream applications, such as unraveling the impact of climatic shifts on population movements and health. The methodology involves employing various CV and NLP algorithms for the seamless stitching and georeferencing of image mosaics, as well as making downstream predictions based on the data.
We interviewed Prof. Ilin to learn more —
Why did you choose the I School?
What drew me most to the school was its interdisciplinary environment, the faculty, and the chance to instruct Master’s level students in machine learning. Given the fast-paced evolution of ML, I find it both compelling and motivating to continually refresh course content with the latest advancements in cutting-edge architectures.
Why are you looking forward to joining the faculty at Berkeley I School?
The opportunity to assume greater responsibilities, contribute to ML-related course development, and allocate dedicated time for research.
What is an accomplishment that you are especially proud of?
My progression within the I School, transitioning from a postdoc to a lecturer, and ultimately to my current rule as an assistant professor of practice.
My husband and I have a passion for globetrotting in pursuit of challenging hikes amidst breathtaking landscapes. Among our top picks are the stunning Fiordlands of New Zealand and the rugged Scottish Highlands. Back home, we take pleasure in embarking on weekend hikes to the ocean beach or to Lake Almanor, accompanied by our beloved dogs, Milo and Bonnie.
Favorite course you’ve ever taken or taught
A course that I have taken and resonated most with me was “Introduction to Java Programming” at UW Madison, as it fundamentally transformed my approach to programming. It empowered me to create code that is both meticulously structured and comprehensively documented.