Borja de Balle Pigem

Sr. Machine Learning Scientist @ Amazon

From October 2015 until March 2017 I was a lecturer (≈ assistant professor) at Lancaster University affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Data Science Institute. My full curriculum vitae is available here.

From October 2013 until September 2015 I was a post-doctoral fellow in the Reasoning and Learning Laboratory at McGill University, where I worked with Prakash Panangaden, Joelle Pineau, and Doina Precup. I obtained my PhD in 2013 from UPC after working in the LARCA research group under the supervision of Jorge Castro and Ricard Gavaldà. During my PhD I spent several months visiting Mehryar Mohri at the Courant Institute (NYU).


One the Square, Station Road
Cambridge, CB1 2GA, UK


borja /dot/ balle /at/ gmail /dot/ theusual

My research interests revolve around all aspects of Machine Learning: theory, algorithms, and applications.

Currently I focus on the foundations of privacy-preserving data analysis, including Differential Privacy and Private Multi-Party Machine Learning.

In the past I worked on scalable spectral algorithms for learning latent-variable models inspired by Language Theory and Dynamical Systems, and motivated by applications in Natural Language Processing and Reinforcement Learning.

Papers available here may be subject to copyright and are intended for personal, non-commercial use only.

B. Balle, J. Castro, and R. Gavaldà
Learning Probabilistic Automata: A Study In State Distinguishability
Theoretical Computer Science, 473:46-60, 2013  (DOI)

B. Balle and M. Mohri
Spectral Learning of General Weighted Automata via Constrained Matrix Completion
Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2012
(Honorable Mention for the Outstanding Student Paper Award)

B. Balle, J. Castro, and R. Gavaldà
Bootstrapping and Learning PDFA in Data Streams
International Colloquium on Grammatical Inference (ICGI), 2012
(Best Student Paper Award)

B. Balle, A. Quattoni, and X. Carreras
Local Loss Optimization in Operator Models: A New Insight into Spectral Learning
International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), 2012

F. M. Luque, A. Quattoni, B. Balle, and X. Carreras
Spectral Learning for Non-Deterministic Dependency Parsing
Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL), 2012
(Best Paper Award)

B. Balle, A. Quattoni, and X. Carreras
A Spectral Learning Algorithm for Finite State Transducers
European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML-PKDD), 2011

B. Balle, J. Castro, and R. Gavaldà
A Lower Bound for Learning Distributions Generated by Probabilistic Automata
International Conference on Algorithmic Learning Theory (ALT), 2010

B. Balle
Implementing Kearns-Vazirani Algorithm for Learning DFA Only with Membership Queries
Zulu Workshop, 2010
(The algorithm described in this paper finished in 2nd place in the Zulu Competition)

B. Balle, J. Castro, and R. Gavaldà
Learning PDFA with Asynchronous Transitions
International Colloquium on Grammatical Inference (ICGI), 2010

B. Balle, E. Ventura, and J.M. Fuertes
An Algorithm to Design Prescribed Length Codes for Single-Tracked Shaft Encoders
IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics (ICM), 2009

J.M. Fuertes, B. Balle, and E. Ventura
Absolute-Type Shaft Encoding Using LFSR Sequences With a Prescribed Length
IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, Vol. 57, No. 5, 2008

Automata Learning   —   Summer School on Foundations of Programming and Software Systems, July 2018

Singular Value Automata and Approximate Minimization   —   Weighted Automata: Theory and Applications, May 2018

A Short Tutorial on Differential Privacy   —   The Alan Turing Institute, January 2018

Learning Automata with Hankel Matrices   —   Logic and Learning Workshop (Turing Institute), January 2018

Theoretical Guarantees for Learning Weighted Automata   —   International Conferene on Grammatical Inference (ICGI), October 2016

Tutorial on (Co-)Algebraic and Analytical Aspects of Weighted Automata Minimisation and Equivalence (presented jointly with Alexandra Silva)   —   Coalgebraic Methods in Computer Science (CMCS), April 2016

Tutorial on Spectral Learning Techniques for Weighted Automata, Transducers, and Grammars   —   Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), October 2014

Area Chair   —   NIPS 2018

Organizer   —   Privacy in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (PiMLAI), ICML 2018

Organizer   —   Workshop on Learning and Automata (LearnAut), LICS 2017

Organizer   —   Workshop on Fairness and Privacy in Machine Learning, DALI 2017

Member   —   Steering Committee for the International Conference on Grammatical Inference (since 2016)

Organizer   —   Private Multi-Party Machine Learning, NIPS 2016

Organizer   —   Sequence Prediction Challenge (SPICE), 2016

Workshops Chair (with Marco Cuturi)   —   NIPS 2015

Area Chair   —   NIPS 2014

Organizer   —   Workshop on Method of Moments and Spectral Learning, ICML 2014

Organizer   —   Spectral Learning Workshop, NIPS 2013

Organizer   —   Spectral Learning Workshop, ICML 2013

Broadcard Films   —   Ràdio 90

Aiki O Kami   —   Bond Street Dojo   —   Ritzu Zen Garrotxa   —   McGill Aikido   —   Lancaster Aikido