Youyang Gu is a data scientist and practical machine learning expert. He is the creator of covid19-projections.com, a simple COVID-19 prediction model that adds the power of machine learning on top of a classic infectious disease SEIR model to make forecasts for all 50 US states and more than 70 countries. Since April, his site has been cited by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help inform public health decision making. His modeling work has also been widely featured by national and international media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, among others.
Prior to his COVID-19 modeling work, Youyang honed his research skills in a variety of fields: tech, trading/finance, and sports analytics. His expertise is in using machine learning to understand data, separate signal from the noise, and make accurate predictions. The cross-disciplinary nature of Youyang’s background allows him to successfully tackle new projects in new fields, such as disease modeling.
He is a strong believer in using simple machine learning models to create practical predictions and solutions. Many current applications of machine learning are heavily theoretical and complex in nature, giving them little to no practical use in a real, fast-paced environment.
Youyang completed his Bachelor’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), double majoring in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Mathematics. He also received his Master’s degree at MIT, completing his thesis as part of the Natural Language Processing group at the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
His story has been featured in the 2014 book Young Leaders 3.0: Stories, Insights, and Tips for Next-Generation Achievers. In his free time, Youyang enjoys snowboarding (or skiing if there’s fresh powder), making good trades in fantasy football, and driving during fall foliage.
Youyang is always interested in learning more about how data-oriented modeling can be used to tackle public health challenges. You can contact him by using the Contact page.