Abby Stylianou
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Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
Fellow, Taylor Geospatial Institute
Fellow, SLU Research Institute

My research lies at the intersection of fine grained visual categorization, deep metric learning and image retrieval, and explainable AI. I am particularly motivated by applications of machine learning and computer vision in social justice and in science. In recent years, the applications I have focused on include building models for hotel-specific image retrieval in order to locate victims of sex trafficking who have been photographed in hotels, learning descriptions of plant phenomics and how they relate to underlying genetics and environmental factors, and observing how individuals interact with the world around them in outdoor webcam images to support better design of the built environment. I am additionally interested in the development of machine learning benchmarks and competitions to broaden participation in machine learning for science, and in the design of visualization and interpretability tools to better understand machine learning algorithms and make their decisions accessible to non-experts.

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I have been an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Saint Louis University since Fall of 2019. I received my B.A. in Environmental Studies: Geoscience from Washington University in St. Louis. I was then hired as a Research Scientist by Dr. Robert Pless, in the Media and Machines Lab at WashU, where my work focused on tools for the calibration and validation of outdoor imagery. I ended up pursuing my M.S. in Computer Science part time while working as a Research Scientist, before decided to pursue my Ph.D. My Ph.D. dissertation focused on large scale image search approaches to combat human trafficking by recognizing the hotels that victims of human trafficking are photographed. I continued working on this project as a Postdoc at George Washington University, working with Dr. Pless, and funded by the National Institute of Justice.


I am proud to have published with a variety of undergraduate and graduate students, and am always seeking undergraduate and PhD students with strong machine learning and computer vision background to join my lab. However, I receive a huge number of solicitations for positions in my lab and do not have time to respond to them all (I would never do anything else!). If you would like to stick out from the noise, please be sure to include significant details about your background (pluses: prior publications, evidence of very strong Python programming skills and programming for deep learning in particular, applications you've built, etc.) as well as why you are interested in joining my lab in particular. Students seeking to join the CS PhD program at SLU should reach out to me in addition to applying to the Saint Louis University Computer Science PhD program.

Fall 2023
  • CSCI 4740/5740: Artifical Intelligence
  • CSCI 5961: Artifical Intelligence MS Capstone
Spring 2023
  • CSCI 4830/5830: Computer Vision
Fall 2022
  • CSCI 4710/5710: Databases
  • CSCI 5090: CS Colloquium
Spring 2022
  • Maternity Leave!
Fall 2021
  • CSCI 1070: Taming Big Data
  • CSCI 4710/5710: Databases
Spring 2021
  • CSCI 5760: Deep Learning
Fall 2020
  • CSCI 1070: Taming Big Data
Spring 2020
  • CSCI 1070: Taming Big Data
Fall 2019
  • CSCI 1070: Taming Big Data

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