Alex Tamkin

PhD Student, Computer Science, Stanford University

Email: atamkin_stanford_edu | Twitter: alextamkin

I'm a fourth-year PhD student in Computer Science at Stanford, advised by Noah Goodman and part of the Stanford NLP Group. My research focuses on understanding, building, and controlling pretrained models, especially in domain-general or multimodal settings.

In the past, I've worked on projects in reinforcement learning, HCI, and computational astronomy. I've also spent time at Google Brain, Google Language, and Google Civics.

I'm grateful to be supported by an Open Philanthropy AI Fellowship.

In Fall 2021 I'm the instructor of CS 197: Computer Science Research!


DABS: A Domain-Agnostic Benchmark for Self-Supervised Learning

Alex Tamkin, Vincent Liu, Rongfei Lu, Daniel Fein, Colin Schultz, Noah GoodmanNeurIPS 2021 (Dataset and Benchmarks Track)Benchmark Website:

C5T5: Controllable Generation of Organic Molecules with Transformers

Daniel Rothchild, Alex Tamkin, Julie Yu, Ujval Misra, Joseph GonzalezArXiv Preprint

On the Opportunities and Risks of Foundation Models

Center for Research on Foundation ModelsLead: §4.2: Training and Self Supervision, §4.9: AI Safety and AlignmentCoauthor: §2.2: Vision, §3.3: Education, §4.1 Modeling, §5.6: Ethics of Scale

Viewmaker Networks: Learning Views for Unsupervised Representation Learning - [blogpost] [thread]

Alex Tamkin, Mike Wu, Noah GoodmanICLR 2021

Language Through a Prism: A Spectral Approach for Multiscale Language Representations - [thread]

Alex Tamkin, Dan Jurafsky, Noah GoodmanNeurIPS 2020

Investigating Transferability in Pretrained Language Models - [thread]

Alex Tamkin, Trisha Singh, Davide Giovanardi, Noah GoodmanFindings of EMNLP 2020; Presented at CoNLL 2020

Distributionally-Aware Exploration for CVaR Bandits.

Alex Tamkin, Ramtin Keramati, Christoph Dann, and Emma Brunskill. NeurIPS 2019 Workshop on Safety and Robustness in Decision Making; RLDM 2019

Being Optimistic to Be Conservative: Quickly Learning a CVaR Policy

Ramtin Keramati, Christoph Dann, Alex Tamkin, and Emma Brunskill. AAAI 2020

Recursive Routing Networks: Learning to Compose Modules for Language Understanding.

Ignacio Cases, Clemens Rosenbaum, Matthew Riemer, Atticus Geiger, Tim Klinger, Alex Tamkin, Olivia Li, Sandhini Agarwal, Joshua D Greene, Dan Jurafsky, Christopher Potts, and Lauri KarttunenNAACL 2019 A Gestural and Visual Interface for Human-Drone Interaction.

Jessica R Cauchard, Alex Tamkin, Cheng Yao Wang, Luke Vink, Michelle Park, Tommy Fang, and James A Landay. HRI 2019

Identifying Exoplanets with Deep Learning: Towards Improved Planet Occurrence Rates with Kepler, K2, and TESS.

Andrew Vanderburg, Christopher Shallue, Liang Yu, Anne Dattilo, and Alex Tamkin. American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts, 2019

Other Writing

Understanding the Capabilities, Limitations, and Societal Impact of Large Language Models

Alex Tamkin*, Miles Brundage*, Jack Clark, Deep GanguliArXiv. Blogpost: [Stanford HAI] Press: [VentureBeat] [Datanami]

(See Essays for more)


Other topics I think a lot about:

Outside of research, I organize the Stanford Queer in AI Dinner with Stanford Inclusion in AI

I also like making art, especially ceramics and photography!