Vahid Tarokh teaching with large screen displayed behind him
Photo Credit

One Step Ahead

Duke’s Vahid Tarokh is using machine learning to predict catastrophic events before they occur.

Is it possible to predict big, impactful events that hardly ever happen? Stock market crashes and volatility, major earthquakes and hurricanes, rogue waves and tsunamis, pandemics and wars — these kinds of extreme events all threaten life or livelihood, but what is the probability of one of them happening this year or within the next 10 or 100 years?

“These extreme events occur with very low frequency, but when they happen, they have a big impact,” says Vahid Tarokh, Ph.D. “These are the kinds of things I think are interesting.” Tarokh is the Rhodes Family Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also has appointments in the departments of computer science and mathematics.