David Dao
PhD candidate at ETH Zurich | Past: Stanford, Berkeley, MIT

I'm a Ph.D. candidate at ETH Zurich building AI and Data Systems for Sustainable Development.
I'm leading the Climate + AI initiative at DS3Lab, mapping the ethical use of AI, and directing the Kara research project with Stanford and UC Berkeley. I'm also the founder of GainForest, a non-profit grantee of Microsoftโ€™s AI for Earth program, which leverages decentralized technology to prevent deforestation. Previously, I was an engineer in Silicon Valley and a research fellow at Berkeley AI Research (BAIR), Stanford University and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. I'm a Global Shaper at World Economic Forum, a Core Member of Climate Change AI, a Climate Leader at Climate Reality Project, a Mentor at Creative Destruction Lab, a United Nations delegate at COP (since COP23 Bonn), and organized conferences with thousands of attendees in in Germany, Silicon Valley, and at Harvard.
๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ Media features (selected):
GainForest featured in MIT Technology Review, Microsoft, United Nations, World Economic Forum, Swiss Re
Komorebi featured in ETH News, Swiss Tagblatt
Kara featured in WIRED, The New York Times, MIT Technology Review and ETH News
Ethics & AI featured in Radio Tรฉlรฉvision Suisse
Previous research at MIT featured in The Scientist

๐ŸŽจ Art work:
Awful AI featured in Fotomuseum Winterthur
Provocation in BeFantastic

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Interviews:
BBC Radio 4, ETH Spotlight, ETH Podcast, digitalculture.la, Kรถrber-Stiftung

๐ŸŽฅ Talks at UN COP26 in Glasgow:
Goals House: Youth Leadership
Business Pavilion: Data Governance
UN Climate Change: GainForest
UN Climate Change: Radical Transparency in Monitoring

๐Ÿ‘‡ In short for millenials:
Founder @GainForest. Using ๐Ÿ›ฐ and ๐ŸŽฎto restore ๐ŸŒด
PhD candidate @DS3Lab. AI for Sustainable Development ๐ŸŒฑ
Goal: Save the world with crazy technology ๐ŸŒ
Academic: ETH, Past: Stanford, Berkeley, MIT

Research ยทMedium Blog

Want to work on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and finish your thesis at the same time? Here are some thesis proposals!

Data Marketplaces
Data Valuation: How much is your data worth? ยท Joint project with UC Berkeley
AI Systems to help restore the natural world
Komorebi: Deforestation prediction of the Amazon Rainforest using satellite imagery ยท 2 x Microsoft AI for Earth Grant ยท Grand Prize UNFCCC Hack4Climate at COP23 ยท Presentation at COP24 ยท Presentation at COP25
ForestBench: A global benchmark for forest carbon stock prediction ยท Joint project with MIT and TUM
GainForest X Prize: Biodiversity monitoring with satellites, drones and eDNA ยท Joint project with Stanford
AI Systems for Medicine and Science
Kara: A privacy-preserving tokenized data market for medical data ยท Joint project with UC Berkeley and Stanford
Piximi: Interactive machine learning for cell biology ยท Joint project with Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

tldr; Design systems such that society and AI gain from each other.
Here is my mission statement and a timeline.

Selected Publications

Efficient Task-Specific Data Valuation for Nearest Neighbor Algorithms
Towards Efficient Data Valuation Based on the Shapley Value
CellProfiler Analyst: interactive data exploration, analysis and classification of large biological image sets

All Publications ยท Google Scholar


Challenges in KDD and ML for Sustainable Development
Tackling the Overestimation of Forest Carbon with Deep Learning and Aerial Imagery ๐Ÿ† Spotlight (Top 5%)
Scalability vs. Utility: Do We Have To Sacrifice One for the Other in Data Importance Quantification?
Ease. ML: A Lifecycle Management System for Machine Learning


TrueBranch: Metric Learning-based Verification of Forest Conservation Projects ๐Ÿ† Best Proposal Award (Top 2%)
Xingu: Curating Weak Supervision Signals for Sustainable Climate Finance


GeoLabels: Towards Efficient Ecosystem Monitoring using Data Programming on Geospatial Information
Data Capsule: A New Paradigm for Automatic Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations
Efficient Task-Specific Data Valuation for Nearest Neighbor Algorithms
GainForest: Scaling Climate Finance for Forest Conservation using Interpretable Machine Learning on Satellite Imagery
Towards Efficient Data Valuation Based on the Shapley Value


DataBright: A Data Curation Platform for Machine Learning based on Markets and Trusted Computation
A Demonstration of Sterling: A Privacy-Preserving Data Marketplace


An open-source solution for advanced imaging flow cytometry data analysis using machine learning


CellProfiler Analyst: interactive data exploration, analysis and classification of large biological image sets


Anatomy of BioJS, an open source community for the life sciences


Automated Plausibility Analysis of Large Phylogenies

Open Source Software ยท Github

Almost all of my work is open source

profile for David Dao on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

Star ยท Awful-AI ๐Ÿ˜ˆ is a curated list to track current scary usages of AI - hoping to raise awareness
Star ยท Awesome-Deep-Learning ๐Ÿ”ฅ is a curated list of papers about very deep neural networks
Star ยท Spatial Transformer ๐ŸŒ is part of TensorFlow Models (where I'm co-author)
Star ยท CellProfiler Analyst ๐Ÿ”ฌ is an adaptive machine learning tool for biologists
Star ยท Green Artificial Intelligence Standard ๐ŸŒฑ aims to develop a standard and raise awareness for best environmental practices in AI research and development
Star ยท BioJS ๐Ÿ”ฌ is an interactive visualization ecosystem for life science

Scientific Collaborators

I'm grateful to work with my scientific collaborators

ยท Lucas Czech (Carnegie Institution of Science)
ยท Crowther Lab (ETH Zurich)
ยท Bjรถrn Lรผtjens (MIT)
ยท Dawn Song (UC Berkeley)
ยท Robert Chang (Stanford Medicine)
ยท Anne Carpenter (MIT Broad Imaging Platform)
ยท Joe Near (University of Vermont)
ยท Yan Meng (Mercedes-Benz Research)

Former/Current Students

I'm proud of my students

ยท Ghjulia Sialelli (ETH)
ยท Marc Watine (ETH)
ยท Gyri Reiersen (TUM / Founded Tanso
ยท Kenza Amara (ETH / Went to Facebook AI)
ยท Simona Santamaria (ETH / Founded RYVER.AI
ยท Iveta Rott (ETH / Went to McKinsey)
ยท Mina Huh (KAIST)
ยท Levin Moser (ETH / Went to MIT)
ยท Catherine Cang (UC Berkeley / Went to AirBnB)
ยท Ming Zhang (ETH / Went to Roche)
ยท Luca Lanzendorfer (ETH / Went to Mercedes-Benz Research)
ยท Florian Chlan (ETH / Went to Amazon)
ยท Nino Weingart (ETH / Went to BSI)
ยท Christopher Friedrich (Reutlingen / Went to MIT)

Scientific Service

Proud and active member of the scientific community

ยท Reviewer for CCAI Innovation Grant (Total value of 1.8 Mio USD)
ยท Organizer CCAI Side Event at COP26 (together with ClimateTRACE and CAIC)
ยท Program Committee NeurIPS Climate Change AI'21
ยท Tutorial KDD Challenges in ML for Sustainable Development'21
ยท Program Committee ICML Climate Change AI'21
ยท Co-Lead Organizer NeurIPS Climate Change AI'20
ยท Organizer ICML Economics of Privacy and Data Labor'20
ยท Co-Organizer ICLR Climate Change AI'20
ยท Program Committee NeurIPS Climate Change AI'19
ยท Reviewer ISC-HPC'15


Erdรถs number: 4 (via A. Stamatakis)

Climate Emergency

You can follow me on Twitter at @dwddao.