Daphne Koller is an American computer scientist of Israeli descent with general interests in the field of artificial intelligence and its applications in biomedical science.
Koller, who completed her Master’s degree at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem whilst only 18 years old, is also the co-founder of education platforms Coursera and Engageli as well as machine learning-based drug development company Insitro.
Education and early career
After completing her Master’s, Koller moved to the United States and completed her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Stanford University in 1993. She then undertook postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley’s Computer Science Division under renowned British computer scientist Stuart J. Russell.
Koller then returned to Stanford as a faculty professor in 1995 – a position she would hold until 2014 as the Rajeev Motwani Professor in the School of Engineering. There, her main areas of interest were the modeling and analysis of complex domains using machine learning (ML) and probabilistic methods.
In 2012, Koller spearheaded an effort with Andrew Ng to develop and offer interactive online computer science courses for free. While the courses were graded by students and participants received no academic credit, over 100,000 individuals enrolled. This surprised Koller, who noted that “it was a wake-up call about the demand for this type of education around the world.”
Based on the popularity of the endeavor and the trend toward massive open online courses (MOOCs), Koller co-founded Coursera with Ng in 2012.
Koller’s contributions to more accessible online education saw her included among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2012. Two years later, Fast Company named her one of its Most Creative People.
Koller became President of Coursera in 2014 and co-Chairman in 2016 before moving on three years later.
Having spent much of the past 18 years in academia, Koller decided it was time for a change. In August 2016, she joined Alphabet subsidiary CalicoLabs as Chief Computing Officer. This enabled her to pursue projects related to her passions for ML and human health.
In March 2018, however, Koller announced “I have decided to leave Calico to pursue other professional opportunities.” During her 18 months or so with the company, Koller designed experiments and worked with large datasets to better understand the science of human longevity.
Koller then founded her own company in the field of machine learning-based health called Insitro. According to the company’s website, “deeply experienced biologists and drug hunters work hand-in-hand with leading edge technologists and machine learners. Together, we can answer questions that alone we would not have even thought to ask.”
Insitro attracted significant early investment from the likes of Arch, Andreessen Horowitz, Foresite Capital, Google Ventures (GV), BlackRock, and Softbank Investment Advisors. In fact, CrunchBase reports that the company has raised $743 million to date.
In more recent times, Koller co-founded the digital learning platform Engageli in August 2020. The company, which came out of stealth in October of that year, released a video conferencing tool akin to a virtual classroom targeted at higher education.
Koller had the idea for Engageli after observing that the platform her children used to attend virtual classes was not designed to ensure they were attentive, understood the content, or indeed was even interested in it.
Koller remains on the Board of Engageli today.
- Daphne Koller is an American computer scientist of Israeli descent with general interests in the field of artificial intelligence and its applications in biomedical science.
- Koller then returned to Stanford as a faculty professor in 1995 – a position she would hold until 2014. There, her main areas of interest were the modeling and analysis of complex domains using machine learning (ML) and probabilistic methods. She also met Andrew Ng there and the pair later launched the online course platform Coursera.
- Koller joined Alphabet subsidiary CalicoLabs as Chief Computing Officer in 2016 to indulge her passions for ML and human health. She then left to found her own company in the field, Insitro, which was followed by the digital learning platform Engageli.
- Background and Education:
- Daphne Koller is an American computer scientist of Israeli descent with a focus on artificial intelligence and its applications in biomedical science.
- She completed her Master’s degree at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the age of 18.
- Academic and Research Career:
- Koller earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1993 and conducted postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley.
- She returned to Stanford in 1995 as a faculty professor, where she became known for her work in the modeling and analysis of complex domains using machine learning and probabilistic methods.
- Koller co-founded Coursera with Andrew Ng in 2012, offering free online computer science courses that attracted over 100,000 participants.
- Coursera and Recognition:
- Koller’s involvement in Coursera’s development made her influential in the field of online education.
- She served as President and co-Chairman of Coursera before moving on in 2019.
- Her efforts in online education earned her recognition, including being named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012.
- CalicoLabs and Insitro:
- Koller joined Alphabet subsidiary CalicoLabs as Chief Computing Officer in 2016, focusing on projects related to machine learning and human health.
- She later founded her own company, Insitro, in the field of machine learning-based health, attracting significant investment for innovative research in biomedicine.
- Engageli and Continued Impact:
Connected Business Model Analyses
Stability AI Ecosystem