Yolanda Gil

I serve as Director of New Initiatives in AI and Data Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and Senior Director for Major Strategic AI and Data Science Initiatives at USC's Information Sciences Institute (ISI).

As Principal Scientist at USC/ISI I lead the Knowledge Capture and Discovery research group, which is part of AI@ISI. My research focuses on intelligent interfaces for knowledge capture, which is a central topic in our projects concerning knowledge-based planning and problem solving, information analysis and assessment of trust, semantic annotation, agent and software choreography, and community-wide development of knowledge bases. A recent focus is assisting scientists with intelligent systems that analyze data, test hypotheses, and make new discoveries. If you would like to visit us, give a talk, or join our research group, please contact me!

I am also Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science and in the Spatial Sciences Institute at USC.

I am Director of the Data Science Program at USC. I designed an innovative course for teaching data science to non-programmers.

I am also Director of the USC Center for Knowledge-Powered Interdisciplinary Data Science (CKIDS). DataFest is a recurring, semester-long event at USC where students from different backgrounds and programs get hands-on experience in faculty-guided projects involving data science. We work with the USC GRIDS data science student organization, please contact us if you are interested in joining!

Before coming to ISI in 1992, I received my PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. My thesis focused on the acquisition of planning knowledge through the formulation of deliberate experiments with the environment. I have been fascinated ever since with the challenge of enabling computers to learn new knowledge both autonomously and from being taught.

Quick Links: short bio, CV, awards and grants, research projects, publications, recent invited talks, teaching and advising, contact information.

Recent presentations

Follow @yolandagil


Research Interests and Projects

I have broad research interests in AI and data science. The best way to learn about my work is through my publications and recent invited talks. You can find more information about my research in the web pages of the Interactive Knowledge Capture research group. Very new projects are described briefly in the new awards roster.

Roster of awards and grants

Professional Activities

American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)

I am Past-President of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). and member of the AAAI Executive Committee. AAAI is the foremost international scientific society for AI. AAAI sponsors several conferences, including AAAI, IAAI, EAAI, AIIDE, and numerous workshops and symposia. It also organizes educational activities, competitions that test AI systems, and a range of other activities that support the AI community. One of the most fun things I do for AAAI is be a judge at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) where students from many countries present science projects, and most computer science projects are actually in AI. These young researchers develop amazing projects and are incredibly inspiring!


I am Past Chair of the Special Interest Group in Artificial Intelligence (SIGAI) of the Association for Computing Machinery. Among other things, we started the AI Matters magazine and the Career Network and Conference for early career researchers in AI. SIGAI supports the AI community with activities ranging from conference sponsorship, student fellowships, research awards, and publications management in the ACM Digital Library. Join ACM SIGAI, and please contact any of the officers if you would like to volunteer and get involved.

Conferences and Meetings

This year I am co-chair of Earth Day at the ACM Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD). I was General Chair for the International Semantic Web Conference, held in Kobe on October 17-21, 2016. I regularly review for AAAI (I was program co-chair in 2006), IAAI, IUI (I was program chair in 2002), ISWC (I was program co-chair in 2005), K-CAP (I was general chair in 2009), WWW (I was area chair in 2010), and EKAW. I have also been in the program committee, though less frequently, for ICAPS, ICML (I was area chair in 2002), and KR.

There are two excellent papers that I strongly recommend to reviewers of conferences: "The health of research conferences and the dearth of big idea papers", by David Patterson and "Reviewing the reviewers", by Ken Church.


I am a founding Editorial Board member of the new ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology, Journal of Web Semantics, and Applied Ontology, and an Editorial Board member of the Artificial Intelligence journal. I was Associate Editor of the Cognitive Science journal from 2006 to 2008.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

I was chair of the Incubator Group on Provenance, which is part of the Semantic Web Activity at the World Wide Web Consortium. Provenance refers to the sources, entities, and processes involved in creating or delivering an artifact. Provenance is a topic of great interest in a variety of contexts including eBusiness, eGovernment, eScience, copyright and licensing, and linked data in the semantic web. The wiki contains several reports produced by the group, including its Final Report. I was involved in the follow-on W3C Provenance Working Group that led to the PROV standard.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

I was elected to the National Science Foundation's EarthCube founding Leadership Council as representative (and Co-Chair) of the EarthCube Technology and Architecture Committee (TAC) for the term 2014-2017. The EarthCube initiative is a partnership between the NSF Directorate of Geosciences and the NSF Directorate of Computer Science and Engineering to transform geosciences research through novel cyberinfrastructure that is driven by the needs of the science community and supports unprecedented sharing, exploration, and discovery. Its Leadership Council oversees the governance of the EarthCube initiative, and the TAC is responsible for technology development, architecture design, and fostering standards.

I served in the Advisory Committee of the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate from 2006 to 2008.

Teaching and Advising

I am Director of the Data Science Program at USC.

I designed a new course to teach data science to non-programmers. I used to teach that class at USC as DSCI549. You can see the class syllabus and several papers about the design of the curriculum.


All publications

Publications organized by project

Contact information:

Information Sciences Institute
University of Southern California
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 1001
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
at isi.edu with user gil
Phone: (310) 448-8794
Fax: (310) 823-6714
Office: 941W

Assistant: Alma Nava (at isi.edu with user anava)

USC campus offices (by appointment only): GER 207 and PHE 516

Last updated: October 27, 2020