Portrait of Ashish Kapoor

Ashish Kapoor

Senior Researcher


I am a researcher with the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft Research, Redmond. These days I am specifically focusing on Aerial Informatics and Robotics. I am interested in building intelligent and autonomous flying agents that are safe and enable applications that can positively influence our society. The core technology builds upon cutting edge research in machine intelligence, robotics and human-centered computation in order to enable an entire fleet of flying robots that range from micro-UAVs to commercial jetliners. Various application scenarios include Weather Sensing, Monitoring for Precision Agriculture, Safe Cyber-Physical Systems etc.

More broadly, I am interested in Machine Learning, Quantum Computation and Computer Vision with applications in User Modelling, Affective Computing and HCI scenarios. I did a PhD at the MIT Media Lab and my Doctoral thesis looked at building Discriminative Models for Pattern Recognition with incomplete information (semi-supervised learning, imputation, noisy data etc.). A significant part of that work involved automatic analysis of non-verbal behavior (e.g. Facial Action Analysis, see Master’s thesis) and physiological responses. The earliest part of my research career tackled the problem of photorealistic facial animations.

I am also an avid aviator and hold FAA Commercial Pilot certificate (SEL), FAA Flight Instructor certificate (Airplane Single Engine and Instrument Airplane). I am an active amateur aircraft builder and recently finished building an RV-8 Aircraft (see : RV-8 build blog ).


Aerial Informatics and Robotics Platform

Established: February 15, 2017

Bridging the simulator-to-reality gap with Aerial Informatics and Robotics platform Machine learning is becoming an increasingly important artificial intelligence approach to building autonomous and robotic systems. One of the key challenges with machine learning is the need for many samples — the…

Windflow: Airplanes As Vast Sensor Network

Established: June 3, 2014

The best available forecasts in the United States—from the federal government’s Winds Aloft program—have been based largely on data from instrumented weather balloons released twice a day, providing forecasts for 176 stations across the United States. Wind Aloft is often…

Safe Autonomous Flight Everywhere (SAFE)

Established: June 6, 2016

Our goal is to build generalized vehicle-agnostic system that can provide safety guarantees in face of uncertain world. Our works starts from defining what we precisely mean by "safe" and then build theoretical framework that treats uncertainty in perception and…

FarmBeats: AI & IoT for Agriculture

Established: May 14, 2015

Several studies have demonstrated the need to double the world’s food production by 2050. However, there is limited amount of additional arable land, and water levels have also been receding. Although technology could help the farmer, its adoption is limited…





The Activity Platform
Helen Wang, Alexander Moshchuk, Michael Gamon, Mona Haraty, Shamsi Iqbal, Eli T. Brown, Ashish Kapoor, Chris Meek, Eric Chen, Yuan Tian, Jaime Teevan, Mary Czerwinski, Susan Dumais, in USENIX 15th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS XV), May 8, 2015, View abstract, Download PDF


Mining Text Snippets for Images on the Web
Anitha Kannan, Simon Baker, Krishnan Ramnath, Juliet Fiss, Dahua Lin, Lucy Vanderwende, Rizwan Ansary, Ashish Kapoor, Qifa Ke, Matt Uyttendaele, Xin-Jing Wang, Lei Zhang, in KDD '14 Proceedings of the 20th ACM SIGKDD international conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining, ACM Press, August 24, 2014, View abstract, Download PDF