Portrait of Ashley Llorens

Ashley Llorens

Vice President, Distinguished Scientist & Managing Director, Microsoft Research Outreach


I lead the global outreach team at Microsoft Research (MSR) – our mission is to amplify the impact of research at Microsoft and to advance the cause of science and technology research around the world. Together, we drive strategy and execution for MSR engagement with the rest of Microsoft and with the broader science and technology community. We invest in high-impact collaborative research projects on behalf of the company, create pipelines for diverse, world-class talent, and generate awareness of the current and envisioned future impact of science and technology research.

Prior to joining Microsoft, I served as the founding chief of the Intelligent Systems Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), where I directed research and development in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and neuroscience and created APL’s first enterprise-wide AI strategy and technology roadmap. During my two decades at APL, I led interdisciplinary teams in developing novel AI technologies from concept to real-world application with a focus on autonomous systems. My background is in machine learning and signal processing and current research interests include reinforcement learning for real-world systems, machine decision-making under uncertainty, human-machine teaming, and practical AI safety.

As a subject matter expert in AI and autonomous systems, I’ve served on advisory boards and strategic studies for the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Academy of Sciences. I was recently nominated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to serve as an AI expert on the Global Partnership on AI and was elected to serve as the Science Representative on its inaugural steering committee. Alongside my career in engineering, I have pursued a parallel career as a hip-hop artist and serve as a voting member of the Recording Academy, the institution that organizes the Grammys.