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Brendan J. Frey, PhD

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
Donnelly Centre for Cellular + Biomolecular Research
Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto

I Am Originally From: Calgary

Where I Studied:
Visiting Researcher, Microsoft Research Cambridge, 2008-2009

Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge, England

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Postdoctoral Fellow, 1997 to 1999

University of Cambridge, Isaac Newton Institute
Visiting Researcher, 1997

University of Toronto
PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 1997

University of Manitoba
MSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 1993

University of Calgary
BSc in Electrical Engineering, 1990


My Story:

How do you find a useful needle in an immense haystack of data? You invent a new generation of algorithms. Working with the team here at the Donnelly Centre, we did just that. Our algorithms summarize and organize data more efficiently—and help find that needle faster. My group develops new computational tools and theoretical frameworks for analyzing large-scale data sets, with applications in molecular biology, computer vision, and sensory processing. Our research focus is on introducing algorithms that reveal hidden variables and efficiently take into account the structural knowledge that is critical in most real-world applications—from automatically recognizing someone’s handwriting, to discovering aberrant DNA patterns in the human genome that account for disease.

State-of-the-art sensor technologies are producing vast amounts of signals that can potentially be used to reveal important information in the areas of medicine, information technology, education and industry. Finding patterns, however, that contain useful information is a very difficult problem for computers to solve. We invent new methods and frameworks that enable computer to discover patterns that enable breakthroughs in these areas.

The faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and students at the Donnelly Centre constitute one of the brightest, most energetic and most collaborative groups of researchers in the world. Thanks to this amazing synergy, novel collaborations can occur. For example, my group, with Prof. Hughes and Prof. Blencowe, developed a computational procedure that is able to detect new genetic units and analyze how these units cooperate to perform functions in cells. As well, many researchers at the Donnelly Centre are world-leaders in generating new collections of sensory signals that can be used to reveal new biology and make medical discoveries; however, progress requires a deep analysis of the patterns in the data. This is where my research can directly address the problem. 

For more information on my work, please e-mail me at frey@psi.utoronto.ca




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