our objective

About US

The centre’s primary goal is to advance fundamental knowledge in machine learning and data analytics to address the most challenging and pressing health, environmental, and societal problems for the benefit of our society. We understand that machine learning (ML) can help, but it’s not a silver bullet: tackling these questions requires a concerted transdisciplinary effort across all sectors of society from the onset of a project.

ML has shown its potential, but machine learning needs to advance to tackle the breadth and scope of these large-scale problems. The centre will be a catalyst for new collaborations and feed into university and faculty level centres, non-profit, government, non-governmental organisations, and our community to allow them to leverage ML expertise specific to Aotearoa context. This requires a deep understanding of current state-of-the-art ML algorithms, their limitations, and their applicability in different domains, particularly with respect to ethical and cultural safety.

The Centre will create impact in several ways:


Developing new high-quality research


affecting social change, including changing policies and processes.

What we Do

Research Engagement Process

The nature of transdisciplinary collaboration leads to the continued navigation of shared challenges around ethics, safety, infrastructure, competing priorities, leadership, and capability. The way the challenges are addressed is paramount to the research and societal uptake, benefit, and success of the projects this centre undertakes.

Our Approach

To produce socially relevant knowledge and hence pursue transdisciplinary research, it is desirable for researchers and scientists to decide together with the iwi, community, and the general public on what kind of research should be carried out and the interactions involved. We believe that a genuine, authentic partnership between researchers and stakeholders is a force-multiplier for solutions to real-world problems.

Who we are

Our People


Prof. Yun Sing Koh
Prof. Yun Sing Koh

Computer Science

Prof. Gillian Dobbie
Prof. Gillian Dobbie

Computer Science

Dr. Daniel Wilson
Dr. Daniel Wilson

Computer Science


The Advisory Group

  • Dr. Todd Nicholson (Chair of the Advisory Group). Todd is a Data Scientist and Founder of Nicholson Consulting.  He specializes in developing operational algorithms for automated decision making in the government and private sector. He developed more operational algorithms currently in use by the New Zealand government than any other individual.
  • Prof. Vipin Kumar (Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota, where he holds the William Norris Endowed Chair in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, US). Kumar served as the Lead PI of a 5-year, $10 Million project,  “Understanding Climate Change – A Data Driven Approach”, funded by the NSF’s Expeditions in Computing program that is aimed at pushing the boundaries of computer science research.
  • Dr. Aparna Taneja (Google Research). Taneja has been with Google since 2015. She is a researcher with the AI for social good team in Google Research India. Her current research focus is to drive innovation in AI to achieve real world social impact. Her team collaborates with NGOs in public health, conservation and agriculture. One of our ongoing collaborations is with the NGO called ARMMAN with the mission to improve maternal and child health outcomes in underserved communities of India.
  • Mr. Luke Spencer. (Strategic growth of digital technologies for UniServices) Luke is an experienced Embedded System Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the industrial automation industry. Skilled in Embedded Systems, and Industrial Mobile Applications, and project management. Strong engineering professional with a Bachelor of Engineering(Hons) focused in Electronics and Computer Systems Engineering from University of Auckland.
  • Dan Te Whenua Walker (Ngāti Ruanui). Dan is the Global Co-Chair of Indigenous at Microsoft, Deputy Chair of NZ Māori Tourism, Pou Tuarā of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui, Director of the Centre for Social Impact, and Chair of Whānau Mārama Parenting Charity and a variety of community trustee roles around Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Dr. Yanchang Zhao (Data61). Zhao is a Senior Research Scientist with Data61, CSIRO. Prior to that, he was a Data Analytics Lead with IBM Australia in 2017, a Senior Data Scientist with the Australian Government from 2009 to 2016.

Project Manager

  • Olivier Graffeuille

Media Manager

  • Bowen Chen