Tim Bakker

Tim Bakker

PhD researcher in Machine Learning

University of Amsterdam

Biography

I’m a PhD student at the Amsterdam Machine Learning lab with Herke van Hoof and Max Welling. My research primarily focuses on active learning and active sensing for high-tech applications, such as MRI and scientific simulations, typically coupled with reinforcement learning. I’ve completed research internships at Facebook AI Research (FAIR) and Qualcomm AI Research.

Other interests include AI safety, everything Bayesian, effective altruism, and musical theater.

I am concerned about the risks of transformative AI, and have spoken on this at the Dutch National AI Debate, Pakhuis de Zwijger, the Dutch Ministry of Defence, and the University of Amsterdam.

Download my resume.

Interests
  • Active learning / sensing
  • AI alignment
  • Bayesian probability theory
  • Musical theater
Education
  • MSc in Theoretical Physics, 2016

    University of Amsterdam

  • BSc in Physics and Astronomy, 2014

    University of Amsterdam

Publications

(2023). Active Learning Policies for Solving Inverse Problems. NeurIPS ReALML Workshop 2023.

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(2023). Switching policies for solving inverse problems. NeurIPS Deep Inverse Workshop 2023.

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(2022). E-Valuating Classifier Two-Sample Tests. Preprint.

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(2022). On learning adaptive acquisition policies for undersampled multi-coil MRI reconstruction. MIDL 2022.

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Supervision

Master AI projects

  • 2021-2023: Active learning for imbalanced image classification, Philip Goto.
  • 2020-2021: Uncertainty and Diversity Based Methods in Batch-Mode Active Learning, András Csirik.
  • 2020-2021: Back to Basics: Deep Reinforcement Learning in Traffic Signal Control, Sierk Kanis. UrbComp'21 Best Paper Award runner-up.
  • 2019-2020: Contrastively-shaped reward signals for curiosity-based exploration tasks, Nil Stolt Anso.

Bachelor AI projects

  • 2019-2020: Forecasting shipped orders with long short-term memory recurrent neural networks, Roel van der Burght.

External projects

  • 2019-2020: Bayesian Convolutional Neural Networks for Learning Ground State Energies from a Simple Harmonic Potential Well, Chase van de Geijn.

Teaching

Reinforcement Learning 2019, 2020

I was teaching assistant for the Master AI Reinforcement Learning 2019 and 2020 course at the University of Amsterdam. This involved leading lab and theoretical homework sessions, as well as supervising group projects. Additionally, I taught a substitute lecture on Deep Q-Learning.

Leren (Introduction to Machine Learning) 2019, 2021

I was teaching assistant for the Bachelor AI Leren 2019 and 2021 course at the University of Amsterdam. This involved leading theoretical homework sessions, and assisting students in their lab work.

Experience

 
 
 
 
 
Research intern
May 2023 – Sep 2023 Amsterdam
Research internship on reinforcement learning for efficient optimisation of inverse problems.
 
 
 
 
 
Research intern
Jun 2021 – Oct 2021 Montreal (remote)
Research internship on learning adaptive subsampling in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
 
 
 
 
 
PhD researcher
Mar 2019 – Present Amsterdam
Active learning and active sensing, reinforcement learning, Bayesian methods, and AI alignment.
 
 
 
 
 
Machine Learning Engineer
Sep 2017 – Feb 2019 Amsterdam
Engineer and consultant on a variety to topics; from active learning and clustering to object detection and natural language processing.

Volunteering

 
 
 
 
 
Advisory board member
Sep 2023 – Present Amsterdam
We are an organization in Amsterdam dedicated to promoting AI Safety. Our goal is to create awareness and educate about the importance of AI Safety research.
 
 
 
 
 
Guide and organiser
Oct 2020 – May 2021 Online
EA Meditation worked to connect effective altruists with an interest in meditation, and gives them a place to practice together. My primary role was to guide weekly 20-minute breath meditations.
 
 
 
 
 
Mentor
May 2019 – Present Amsterdam
As an IAI mentor, I help members navigate the academic and non-academic world during and after their Master AI programme.
 
 
 
 
 
Organising board member
May 2019 – Oct 2021 Amsterdam
The IAI is an inclusive space for members to receive non-academic help from senior peers in the field and connect with people of various backgrounds. As a board member I thought about ways to make IAI more effective at combating the ‘leaky-pipeline’ problem of AI industry and academia, and organised events to give our mentees a head-start.
 
 
 
 
 
Interim board member
Nov 2018 – Feb 2019 Amsterdam
The ASPK is an Amsterdam-based, student-lead amateur choir and association that performs yearly operettas in Dutch. As interim board member I updated our statutes, wrote summaries for PR material, and performed a general assisting role.
 
 
 
 
 
Chair and organiser
Oct 2018 – Jan 2024 Amsterdam
The activities committee is responsible for organising regular events for ASPK members with the aim of fostering group cohesion and fun. Events we’ve organised include Christmas carolling, pub quizzes, and oper(ett)a viewings.
 
 
 
 
 
Co-founder and organiser
Jul 2016 – Jul 2018 Amsterdam and Utrecht
We met every few weeks to philosophise, discuss cognitive biases, and learn techniques for dealing with the latter.
 
 
 
 
 
Community organiser
May 2016 – Jul 2017 Netherlands
I volunteered for and helped organise national projects with the goal of movement building.
 
 
 
 
 
Founder and organiser
Mar 2016 – Present Amsterdam
We meet throughout the month to discuss current events, talk about the best ways to have an actual impact in the world, and then do that.

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