MSc Machine Learning and Robotics
University of Southern California, USA
I am a Fulbright scholar, recently finished my Master's in Intelligent Robotics, at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.
I am interested in Machine Learning; Reinforcement Learning, Natural Language Processing and Learning Representations. Also Human-Computer Interaction, Programming Language Theory and Data Visualization.
Computer Science, Math, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
MSc Machine Learning and Robotics
University of Southern California, USA
MSc Artificial Intelligence
University of Bucharest, Romania and
Leiden University, Netherlands
BSc Computer Science and Math
University of Bucharest, Romania
3+ years industry experience as a Data Scientist/Research Engineer
ML Research Intern
Data Science Researcher
Data Science Intern
In a zero-sum RL game, learning stagnates when one side overpowers the other. To resume a balanced co-evolution, we hinder the winner's decision making process and/or help the loser by providing it external guidance.
Class project for Deep Learning, at USC
Team: Stefan Niculae, Alejandro Marin-Parra, Daniel Paul Pena, Allen Kim, Abel John
Especially in non-euclidian topologies, and settings with non-local interactions, transformer state preprocessors can perform better than Convolutional ones, due to their "global" perceptive field and permutation invariance.
Summer project at Blizzard
Mentor: Wayne Yang
On Twitter, women swear less, but swearing while it's raining, on a Saturday can improve audience engagement. We also predict which and where a swear word would impact engagement the most; and counterfactually explore celebrity scenarios.
Class project for Data Science for Social Systems at USC
Team: Stefan Niculae, Kendall Crouch, Jeffrey Stone, Santiago Carvajal, Timothy Rhodes
Games strive to be challenging — neither boring nor frustrating. Physiological (heart-rate, skin temperature, etc) and emotional (through facial expressions) signals can be used to adapt a game's difficulty in response to the user.
Class project for Affective Computing at USC
Authors: Stefan Niculae, Shao-Yen Tseng, Dillion Knox, Qinyi Liu
Aggregate multiple sources of data to generate a filterable population density estimation to prevent civilian casualties. Sponsored by the US Air Force and prototyped using the Lean startup methodology, focused on customer discovery.
Class project for Hacking for Defense, at USC
Team: Stefan Niculae, Brandon Wexler, Madhuri Jujare, Dubem Chukunwoji, Lauren Becker
In a game-theoretic model of enterprise network penetration scenarios, older Genetic Algorithm methods trade speed for robustness, compared to modern Reinforcement Learning techniques.
Master's thesis, in collaboration with Bitdefender
Thesis advisor: Marius Popescu (Univ. Bucharest)
Paper version accepted at AAMAS 2019 workshop
Authors: Stefan Niculae, Daniel Dichiu and Razvan Prejbeanu (Bitdefender), Kaifeng Yang and Thomas Back (Leiden Univ.)
Behavior anomalies, indicative of a compromised endpoint, are detected by processing raw system events using stages of clustering, and other unsupervized learning techniques, sensitive to the time-based sequentiality of the events.
Developed while at Bitdefender
US Patent Pending
Authors: Daniel Dichiu, Stefan Niculae, Elena Bosinceanu, Sorina Stoian, Andreea Dincu, Andrei Apostoae
Select which features of a software product make keep users coming back using an array of statistical and learning methods, and a meta-classifier aggregating multiple heterogenous models.
Bachelor's thesis, in collaboration with Adobe
Thesis advisor: Traian Serbanuta (Univ. Bucharest)
Technical lead: Paul Chirita (Adobe)
Product recommender for platforms having up to tens of thousands of products and customers, with up to daily updates of purchase behavior. Collaborative Filtering, SVD and online updates.
Work done while at Adobe
Python basics and the Jupyter environment; data wrangling using Numpy and Pandas; Data Visualization principles, best practices and case studies, illustrated using Matplotlib and Seaborn.
Presented to a cohort of 30 faculty and students at USC
Various types of Finite Automata and exercises involving them and Formal Languages. Diagrams and step-by-step solutions to help students understand both the intuition and the implementation details, in C++.
Taught two classes of 30 first-year CS students, at U. Bucharest
Professor: Adrian Paun
Explanations and exercises for Declarative Programming concepts, taught in Haskell. Supplemental lab materials, for the students to reference during class or at home.
Taught a class of 25 terminal-year CS students, at U. Bucharest
Professor: Traian Serbanuta
How does the amount of greenery, or liquor ads compare across neighborhoods? We compute these aspects and many more based on StreetView pictures, and explore them in an interactive story.
Created for the VKC Library of USC
What happens when you end up with an extra part when you're "done"? You redo weeks of assembling and hope it doesn't happen again. What do you do when you end up with a different extra part afterwards? Just hope it wasn't essential.
For the Race-on competition, at USC
Team: Stefan Niculae, Alejandro Marin-Parra, Philipp Schauer, Adeem Abass
Putting together modern DQN techniques that target various aspects of the RL process. Benchmarked on a 2D environment from OpenAI's Gym.
Class project for Reinforcement Learning, at Leiden University
Browser implementation of a flappy-bird-like game, neural network and Genetic Algorithm optimizer that uses selection, mutation and crossover to breed the fittest (reaching highest score) genomes.
Class project for Soft Computing, at U. Bucharest
Visualize various performance metrics for Internet of Things devices and spike-detection algorithm to prevent running in a hazardous state.
Summer project at Intel
Team leads: Cristian Levcovici, Mircea Bardac
Pure signal processing (no learning) method for inpainting — filling missing areas of an image through texture synthesis. Used for object removal, photo restoration, picture expansion.
Class project for Digital Signal Processing, at U. Bucharest
Syntactic parser for a custom grammar, with inspectable Abstract Syntax Tree, and evaluator for custom semantics offering step-by-step evaluation, for the program given as input.
Class project for Programming Languages Semantics, at U. Bucharest
C++ implementation of feedforward network and optimizer, with MPI parallelism on CPU. Demo on handwritten digit classification, with an interactive front-end for drawing the digit yourself.
Class project for Parallel Computing, at U. Bucharest
Team: Stefan Niculae, Ionut Ciocoiu
An area of cryptography, stegano, deals with hiding information in plain sight: from tattooing a secret on a messenger's scalp and letting the hair grow, to the kerning of letters, or encoding an image into the least significant bits of another.
Class project for Applied Cryptography, at U. Bucharest
Authors: Stefan Niculae, Alexandra Voda
Textual search engine that highlighting why certain documents and terms were selected, featuring stemming, stop-word removal and accented letters conversion.
Class project for Information Retrieval, at U. Bucharest
"Fire Tracks!" is an online game in which you face off against three other tanks and chase, shoot each-other and make use of your special abilities in a bright, cartoony mayhem.
Class project for Software Development Methodologies, at U. Bucharest
Team: Stefan Niculae, Adrian Brojbeanu, Hung Trinh Xuan
Survive as long as you can by juggling your attention between working out (hitting the green spot), making money (move wallet left-right), hit the balls (move foot up-down) and maintaining the correct speed (press pedal).
First place Microsoft hackathon winner (2015)
Team: Stefan Niculae, Hung Trinh Xuan
Popularize the notorious Vim text editor. Tutorials gradually introduce and allow the practice of concepts, gamification aids motivation and smart hints subtly show how you could have done actions more efficiently.
Class project for Software Engineering, at U. Bucharest
Team: Stefan Niculae, Catalin Matei, Razvan Balint, Ionut Popa, Crosman Vlad