Una-May O'Reilly, Ph.D

Founder & Principal Research Scientist

Anyscale Learning For All (ALFA) Group
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab


Email: unamay (@) csail.mit.edu
Office: 32-D534 Stata Center


Una-May O'Reilly is the leader of ALFA Group at MIT-CSAIL. ALFA's technical approaches include machine learning, evolutionary algorithms, and modsim (modeling and simulation). Dr. O'Reilly conducts research in Artificial Adversarial Intelligence and applies her studies to cyber and information security. She educates the forthcoming generation of data scientists and security specialists, teaching them how to develop state of art techniques that ensure security. Her passion is securing cyber systems and information about climate action. 

Una-May is recognized by ACM SIG-EVO for her significant contributions having been elected a Fellow of ISGEC. She has served as Vice-Chair of ACM SIG-EVO, and has served as chair of the largest international Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO. She has served on the GECCO business committee, co-led the 2006 and 2009 Genetic Programming: Theory to Practice Workshops and co-chaired EuroGP, the largest conference devoted to Genetic Programming. In 2013, Una-May co-inaugurated the Women in Evolutionary Computation group at GECCO. She received the EvoStar Award for Outstanding Achievements in Evolutionary Computation in Europe in 2013. In 2018, Una-May was recognized by Nature Research journals for outstanding contributions in peer review. 

Una-May is an area editor for Data Analytics and Knowledge Discovery for Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines (Kluwer), and editor for Evolutionary Computation (MIT Press), and area editor for ACM Transactions on Evolutionary Learning and Optimization. She serves in an advisory role on the Oakridge National Lab Directorate Advisory Committee.  Start Up Advisory Positions: Aspiring Minds, Legit Patents, PatternEx, Cardinal Wind/Evervest acquired by Ultra Capital (to 2015). Research Sponsorships: MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Crowdstrike, Accenture, BBVA, Jaguar Land Rover, Philips Healthcare N.A., Arcelor Mittal, Givaudan, VMWare, National Science Foundation, DARPA, Dept. of Energy, Crossword Cybersecurity, HKUST-MIT Research Alliance Consortium, Cybersecurity @CSAIL, BigData @CSAIL, and SystemsThatLearn @CSAIL, FinTech@CSAIL.

Number of graduate students: 17 (4 Ph.D., 13 Masters) Number of Postgraduate Scholars: 9

Number of current graduate students: 5 (3 Ph.D., 2  Masters) Number of Postgraduate Scholars: 1

Una-May hails from Ottawa, Ontario Canada. She completed her undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the University of Calgary in 1985. After 3 years at Bell Northern Research, Una-May completed her MCS (’90) and Ph.D. (’95) in Computer Science at Carleton University. Her Ph.D. dissertation is one of the world’s first on the AI topic of Genetic Programming. She joined MIT as a member of the Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1998. She is the author of over 150 academic papers.  



2018 Outstanding Poster Award: Machine learning and Malware Arms RaceAbdullah Al-Dujaili, Alex Huang, Erik Hemberg, Una-May O'Reilly2018 Horizons Colloquium, awarded by IBM Research
2016 Best Paper: “Stratified Locality-Sensitive Hashing for Sublinear Time Critical Event Prediction”, Y. Bryce Kim, Erik Hemberg and Una-May O’Reilly, NIPS Workshop on Machine Learning in Health, Dec 8-9, 2016.
PhD student Yongwook Bryce Kim ‘17,  National Science Foundation (NSF) Award for Young Professionals Contributing to Smart and Connected Health at the 38th Annual IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC’16).
2015 Masters student Jacob Rosen, '15, Best thesis award, MIT Technology and Policy Program in 2015.
Peter Jackson Award for Best Innovative Application Paper. “Tax Non-Compliance Detection Using Co-Evolution of Tax Evasion Risk and Audit Likelihood, Erik Hemberg, Jacob Rosen, Geoff Warner, Sanith Wijesinghe and Una-May O’Reilly, 15th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Law, 2015.
2014 Best Paper: “Behavioural Search Drivers for Genetic Programing”, Krzysztof Krawiec, Una-May O'Reilly, 17th European Conference on Genetic Programming, Springer LNCS 8599, pp 210-221.
2013 Best paper nomination, “On Learning to Generate Wind Farm Layouts”, Dennis Wilson, Emmanuel Awa, Sylvain Cussat-Blanc, Kalyan Veeramachaneni, and Una-May O'Reilly, GECCO 2013, Generative Developmental Systems Track.
2012 Best Paper: "Flex-GP: Genetic Programming on the Cloud" by Dylan Sherry, Kalyan Veeramachaneni, James McDermott, and Una-May O’Reilly, EvoSTAR, EvoPAR conference.

For a full list of publications please see the ALFA Publications page


Medley of Invited Talks

Adversarial Artificial Intelligence, Dalhousie University and Celebration of Canadian Women in Computer Science, Nov 2018

Cyber Arms Races, MIT Emerging Technologies Conference, MENA, Dubai, October 2018 and ASICS, Konica-Minolta, Mitsubishi H.I., Japan, July 2018

Adversarial Dynamics: Understanding Them Now is Important as Ever, EvoStar Keynote, April 2018

Anticipating the Worst, How Adversarial Modeling Can Harden Network Designs, Financial Sector Cyber Security Symposium, Tampa USA, British Telecom, London UK, Feb 2018

How Evolutionary Biology inspires Evolutionary Computation, Accenture India, January 2018

Evolutionary Machine Learning, Plenary talk, World Congress on Computational Intelligence, July 30, 2016

STEALTH: Modeling Coevolutionary Dynamics of Tax Evasion and Auditing, 8th International Joint Conference on Computational Intelligence, May 2016

Data-Driven Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning, EmTech India, New Delhi, India, March 18, 2016

Educational Big Data and The Digital Learner: Privacy and Access Considerations, Advancing Data-Intensive Research in Education: CRA and NSF, 2015

The GigaBeats Project, Joint Statistical Meeting, Boston, MA, August 2014

Cloud-Scale Learning with FlexGP, GE Whitney Symposium, Oct 23-24, 2012