Photo: HAdW/T. Schwerdt

Francesco Locatello

Assistant Professor

Causal Learning and AI

Institute of Science and Technology Austria

Google Scholar




Francesco Locatello is an assistant professor at ISTA leading the Causal Learning and Artificial Intelligence lab.

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Before, he was a Senior Applied Scientist at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He led the Causal Representation Learning research team, where he pursued fundamental research in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and causality.

He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from ETH Zurich (2020), supervised by Gunnar Rätsch (ETH Zurich) and Bernhard Schölkopf (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems), where he was awarded the ETH medal for outstanding doctoral dissertation. During his Ph.D., he was supported by a Google Fellowship and was a Fellow at the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems and ELLIS. During that time, he spent one year at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and two years at Google Brain across Zurich (1.5 years as a part-time Research Consultant) and Amsterdam (6 months internship). He holds a Computer Science M.Sc. degree from ETH Zurich and a B.Sc. engineering degree (cum laude) in Information Technologies from the University of Padua (Italy). 

His research on machine learning and artificial intelligence has received awards at several premier conferences and workshops, most notably the best paper award at the International Conference on Machine Learning and the Hector foundation award for outstanding achievements in machine learning from the Heidelberg Academy of Science. 

He co-organized multiple conferences, including the Causal Learning and Reasoning conference from 2022-2024 (sponsorship, general, and program chair); he is the program chair at the NeurIPS 2024 Benchmark and Dataset track and Volunteer chair at ICLR 2024. He also co-organized multiple workshops at ELLIS, NeurIPS, ICLR, CVPR, UAI, and a CVPR tutorial.

He co-advises PhD students across multiple institutions: