Foster Provost

NEC Faculty Fellow
Paduano Fellow in Business Ethics (Emeritus)

Dept. of Information, Operations and Management Sciences
Leonard N. Stern School of Business
New York University

Affiliations: Department of Computer Science


Some things that might interest you:

Professor Provost won the Best Teacher Award from the Stern MSBA Class of 2014.  (Thanks!)

Data Science for Business (the book) is available for sale!       Book cover image

"..this is the first book of its kind ... whether you are looking for a good comprehensive overview of data science or are a budding data scientist in need of the basics, this is a must-read." 
-- Chris Volinsky, Director, Statistics Research, AT&T Labs; Winner of the $1Million Netflix Challenge   

Bid Optimizing for Targeted Online Advertising
Best Paper Award @ KDD-2012, Industry & Government Track.

Machine Learning for Display Advertising -- Keynote talk discussing privacy and efficacy of targeting on-line ads

Tutorial on Predictive Modeling with Social Networks (ICWSM 2009) [prior version @ KDD 2008]

Privacy-friendly on-line brand advertising @ KDD 2009

Repeated labeling -- Best paper award runner-up @ KDD 2008


Note to prospective Ph.D. students, postdocs, summer interns, etc.


Prof. Provost retired in 2010 from being Editor-in-Chief of the journal Machine Learning.

Prof. Provost won the 2009 INFORMS Design Science Award for his work on Social Network-based Marketing Systems. Previously he received IBM Faculty Awards for outstanding research in data mining and machine learning.  He was elected as a founding board member of the International Machine Learning Society. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR) and Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery.  In 2001, he co-chaired the program of the premier data mining conference (ACM SIGKDD ).   (More bio info)

Prof. Provost co-founded of several successful NYC-based companies, including Dstillery (formerly Media6degrees), Integral Ad Science, and Everyscreen MediaHe advises other companies on data science and strategy.  (Check out:  Tagasauris)



Contact Info
Talks & Tutorials

Jefferson Provost
Caterina Provost-Smith


Research: Machine Learning, Data Mining & Knowledge Systems

Once it was only a dream of artificial intelligence researchers that business systems would analyze data and "learn" to improve their performance automatically.  Now we interact with such machines every day.  Fortune 500 companies as well as startup companies use data mining and machine learning technologies to improve the performance of systems for advertising, customer relationship management, fraud detection, marketing, monitoring, and more.

Oldies but goodies

Edited (with Ron Kohavi of Blue Martini Software) a special issue of the journal of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, on eCommerce and Data Mining.  Available as a book.

Edited (also with Ron Kohavi) a special issue of the journal of Machine Learning on Applications and the Knowledge Discovery Process.  Included an editorial essay discussing the contributions of applied research to the science of Machine Learning.

editorial discussing contributions of applied research

International ACM SIGKDD & the KDD Conference  (Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining)

The ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining is the premier venue for presenting the latest KDD research and for the interaction of KDD researchers and practitioners.

Professor Provost co-chaired the program for KDD-2001, which was held in San Francisco in August 2001.

He was the publicity chair for the 1998 and 1999 International Conferences on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining.

Some Current Students

Jessica Clark, NYU Stern Ph.D. candidate

Some Prior Students

Maytal Saar-Tsechansky, Associate Professor, Univ. Texas at Austin
Gary Weiss, Associate Professor, Fordham University (Ph.D. from Rutgers University, Computer Science; Co-advised with Haym Hirsh)
Claudia Perlich, Chief Scientist, Dstillery  (Formerly at IBM Research)
Shawndra Hill, Assistant Professor, Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania (Co-advised with Chris Volinsky of AT&T Research)
Brian Dalessandro, Vice President Research/Data Science, Dstillery
Josh Attenberg, Data Science Lead, Etsy

Xiaohan Zhang, Data Scientist, Integral Ad Science

Prior Postdocs

Sofus Macskassy, Director Fetch Labs @ Fetch Technologies. Assistant Adjunct Professor, USC
Victor (Shengli) Sheng,  Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas

Talks & Tutorials

Tutorial on Predictive Modeling with Social Networks (ICWSM 2009)

Tutorial on Predictive Modeling with Social Networks (KDD 2008)

Tutorial on Social Network Mining (AAAI 2008) [ICWSM 2009 Tutorial above is more comprehensive]

ACM EC'07 Tutorial: Modeling Complex Networks for (Electronic) Commerce

ICML-2003 Invited Talk  (see On Applied Research... for essays, etc.)


Recent Book

Recent Working Papers












2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989


Professor Provost teaches Data Mining for Business Intelligence to graduate and undergraduate classes.

In spring 2011 he will teach a new graduate class: Networks Crowds and Markets