Field of Research (FoR)
Dr Rohitash Chandra is a Senior Lecturer in Data Science at the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr. Chandra has a built a program of research encircling methodologies and applications of artificial intelligence; particularly in areas of Bayesian deep learning, neuro-evolution, Bayesian inference via MCMC, climate extremes, landscape and reef evolution models, and mineral exploration. He has attracted multi-million dollar...view more
Dr Rohitash Chandra is a Senior Lecturer in Data Science at the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr. Chandra has a built a program of research encircling methodologies and applications of artificial intelligence; particularly in areas of Bayesian deep learning, neuro-evolution, Bayesian inference via MCMC, climate extremes, landscape and reef evolution models, and mineral exploration. He has attracted multi-million dollar funding with leading international interdisciplinary team and has been part of the Australian Research Council (ARC ITTC) Training Centre for Data Analytics in Minerals and Resources (2020-2025). Dr Chandra is an Associate Editor (Topical Editor) for Geoscientific Model Development which is a high impact interdisciplinary journal in computational and mathematical modelling for geoscientific models and applications.
Prior to joining UNSW, Dr Chandra held Sydney Research Fellowship at the University of Sydney (2017 - 2019). Prior to this, he has taken roles as Research Fellow in Machine Learning at Rolls Royce @Corp Lab, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Bioinformatics at Victoria University of Wellington (January to June 2012), and Lecturer in Computing Science at the University of the South Pacific (2013- 2015).Dr. Chandra is originally from Fiji with a Girmit heritage.
- Bayesian deep learning for protein function detection (PhD), Co-supervised by Prof. Alok Sharma
- Bayesian inference for MoRFs and protein-peptide interactions (PhD), Co-supervised by Prof. Alok Sharma
- Cyclone path and intensity prediction with deep insight based deep learning (Masters/Honours), Co-supervised by Prof. Alok Sharma
- Indoor path navigation for disabled persons in large buildings (Masters/Honours)
- Detection of electric cable hazards from Cyclones using a combination of drones with remote sensing and deep learning (Masters/Honours)
- Geo-tagging plastic pollution in coastlines using drones and remote sensing (Masters/Honours)
- Dynamic Earth models, landscape dynamics and basin evolution (PhD), Co-supervised by Prof. Dietmar Muller More details
- Machine learning for Reef Modelling and Optimisation, Co-supervised by Prof. Jody Webster More information
- Deep learning for the reconstruction of 3D Ore-bodies, Co-supervised by Ehsan Farahbakhsh
- COVID-19 infection modelling and sentiment analysis, Honours/PhD
- Memory in Recurrent Neural Networks and Neural Turing Machines, Honours/PhD
- Bayesian deep learning with incomplete information, Honours/PhD
- PhD in Artificial Intelligence, Victoria University of Wellington (2012)
- MSc. in Artificial Intelligence, University of Fiji (2008)
- BSc. in Computer Science and Engineering Technology, University of the South Pacific (2006)
- Doctoral Completion Award, Victoria University of Wellington (2012)
- Sydney Fellowship Award, University of Sydney (2017-2019)
My Research Activities
Bayesian neural networks: Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods provide a probabilistic approach for estimation of the free parameters in a wide range of models. Parallel tempering is an MCMC method that features parallelism with enhanced exploration capabilities. It features a number of replicas with slight variations in the acceptance criteria. More recently, I have been developing algorithms for Bayesian neural networks that feature parallel tempering and parallel computing in order to address computationally expensive problems. The challenge is in the inference for deep learning network architectures that features millions of parameters. Collaboration: Prof. Sally Cripps, University of Sydney; Prof. Scott Scission and Dr Pavel Krivitsky, UNSW Sydney
Surrogate-assisted and Bayesian optimisation: Surrogate-assisted optimization considers the estimation of an objective function for models given computational inefficiency or difficulty to obtain clear results. Surrogate-assistance inference addresses the inefficiency of parallel tempering for large-scale problems by combining parallel computing features with surrogate assisted estimation of likelihood function that describes the plausibility of a model parameter value, given specific observed data. I have been developing these methods for large-scale Bayesian neural networks and also for computationally expensive Geoscientific models such as landscape evolution models. The challenge is to have a good estimation by the surrogates when the actual model features hundreds of free parameters. Collaboration: Prof. Dietmar Muller, University of Sydney; Prof. Yew Soon Ong, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Neuro-evolution and learning algorithms: Neural networks are loosely modelled after biological neural systems and have a wide range of data-driven applications that include time series prediction and pattern recognition. Opposed to gradient-based methods, neuro-evolution features evolutionary algorithms that provide a black-box approach to learning in neural networks. Hence, the learning algorithm is not constrained to the architecture of the network and does not face the limitations of gradient descent such as local minima and vanishing gradients. I have been developing novel neural network learning algorithms using neuro-evolution with motivations from transfer learning, multi-task learning and reinforcement learning. I have been using feedforward and recurrent neural networks with application to a wide range of time series problems that include multidimensional and multi-step ahead prediction with applications that include predicting the behaviour of extreme events such as cyclones. The challenge is in problems that have missing information, noise and inconsistencies in the organisation of data. Collaboration: Prof. Yew Soon Ong, Nanyang Technological University; Prof. Junbin Gao, University of Sydney; Prof. Christian Omlin, University of Agder, Norway.
Evolutionary and swarm optimisation: Evolutionary algorithms used for optimisation are inspired by the theory of evolution. The major feature of these algorithms is their applicability in large scale problems, particularly that do not have the feature to use gradient information to form new proposals. I have contributed most to the field of cooperative coevolution and problem decomposition for neuro-evolution and large scale global optimisation problems. I would like to extend this field further with Bayesian methods that have a natural way for uncertainty quantification which could address the limitation of convergence in evolutionary optimization and related stochastic and metaheuristic algorithms. Collaboration: Prof. Mengie Zhang, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; Prof. Yew Soon Ong, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Solid Earth evolution: Bayesian inference has been a popular methodology for the estimation and uncertainty quantification of parameters in geological and geophysical forward models. Badlands is a basin and landscape evolution forward model for simulating topography evolution at a large range of spatial and time scales. Our solid Earth evolution projects consider Bayesian inference for parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification for landscape dynamics model (Bayeslands). The challenge is in parameter estimation for computationally expensive models which are being addressed by high-performance computing and surrogate-assisted Bayesian inversion. Collaboration: Prof. Dietmar Muller and Dr Tristan Salles, University of Sydney.
Reef modelling: Geological reef models such as Py-Reef-Core provides insights into the flux of carbon by analysing carbonate platform growth and demise through time, and modelling their evolution using landscape dynamics and reef modelling. We provide uncertainty quantification estimation of free parameters using Bayesian inference for reef modelling (BayesReef). Bayesian inference via MCMC and parallel tempering is used with Py-Reef-Core model to understand reef evolution on a geological timescale that can help in predicting the future evolution of coral reefs. The challenge here is in the estimation of the parameters which involves highly non-separable and constrained optimisation. Collaboration: A/Prof. Jody Webster and Dr Tristan Salles, University of Sydney.
Mineral exploration: The extraction of geological lineaments from digital satellite data is a fundamental application in remote sensing. The location of geological lineaments such as faults and dykes are of interest in terms of mineralization. Although a wide range of applications utilized computer vision techniques, a standard workflow for application of these techniques to mineral exploration is lacking. We use computer vision techniques for extracting geological lineaments using optical remote sensing data. Furthermore, in another research direction, we provide a synergy of geophysical forward models and Bayesian inference for 3D joint inversion for mineral prospecting and exploration. Collaboration: Prof. Dietmar Muller, Dr Ehsan Farahbakhsh, and Prof. Gregory Houseman, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney. Dr Hugo Olierook, Prof. Chris Clark, and Prof. Steven Reddy, Curtin University. Dr Richard Scalzo and Prof. Sally Cripps, University of Sydney.
Paleoclimate reconstruction: The reconstruction of paleoclimate precipitation can provide light to Earth’s climate history of millions of years in the past. Although global circulation models have been used with success for the reconstruction of precipitation in the Miocene period, their application to an era back in time is a major challenge due to limited data. We use an alternate approach that features machine learning methods to predict precipitation that defines paleoclimate that spans up to 400 millions of year in the past. The data features a range of geological indicators including sedimentary deposits (coal, evaporates, glacial deposits). The challenge has been in addressing missing values in the dataset and providing rigorous uncertainty quantification in order to develop paleo-maps of forests and vegetation. Collaboration: Prof. Dietmar Muller, Dr Nathaniel Butterworth, and Prof. Sally Cripps, University of Sydney.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
Bayesian inference, deep learning, machine learning, MCMC methods, Environmental informatics, Earth evolution models, reef evolution models, mineral exploration
Postgraduate research students
- Hakiim Jamaluddin, ''Bayesian neural networks for unbalanced datasets``, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW Sydney, PhD thesis, Beginning from February 2021 (Joint Principal Supervisor with Prof. Scott Scission)
- Julian Rodriguez, "Machine learning for spatial-temporal mineral prospecting using plate tectonic models, MPhil, University of Sydney (External Supervisor, 2019-2020)
- Dr Ehsan Farahbakhsh, “Machine learning for mineral prospecting”, PhD, Tehran Polytechnic, Tehran (External Supervisor, 2017 - 2020)
- Yixuan He, "Bayesian neural learning for financial prediction", Master of Financial Mathematics, UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics (Principal Supervisor, 2020)
- Danial Azam. ARC Basin Genesis Hub, University of Sydney, Cosupervision with Prof. Dietmar Muller (Jan 2018 - December 2020)
- Animesh Renanse, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Shaurya Goyal, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Yash Sharma, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Ashish Gupta, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Manavendrasinh Maharana, Manipal Institute of Technology, India (Jan 2020 - June 2020)
- Animesh Tiwari, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Eshwar Nukala, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Arya Arya Indian Institute of Technology Jammu, India ( August 2020 - December 2020)
- Mahir Jain, Manipal Institute of Technology, India ( August 2020 - December 2020)
- Ayush Bhagat, Manipal Institute of Technology, India ( August 2020 - December 2020)
- Ayush Jain, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Divyanshu Singh, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India ( August 2020 - December 2020)
- Kousik Rajesh, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India (May 2020 - August 2020)
- Aakarsh Yadav, Indian Institute of Technology, India (June 2019 - August 2019)
- Ashray Aman, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India (June 2019 - August 2019)
- Rishab Gupta, Indian Institute of Technology, India (June 2019 - August 2019)
- Konark Jain, Indian Institute of Technology, India (May 2018 - July 2018)
- Arpit Kapoor, SRM Institute of Technology, India (June 2018 - August 2018)
- Ratneel Deo, University of the South Pacific, Fiji (December 2017 - February 2018)
- Wil Grebner, University of Sydney, Australia (February 2018 - June 2018)
Master of Data Science:
- ZZSC5836 - Data Mining and Machine Learning (Online), Hexamester 5 https://studyonline.unsw.edu.au/online-programs/master-data-science
- MATH5836 - Data Mining and its Business Applications, Trimester 3: https://www.maths.unsw.edu.au/courses/math5836-data-mining