Welcome at my personal website.


Since November 2013 I am working as a professor at Ghent University, and as a member of the research unit Knowledge-based Systems (KERMIT) of the Department of Mathematical Modelling, Statistics and Bioinformatics. Prior to my return to the university, I was working as lead data scientist for NGDATA, a startup with headquarters in Ghent, specialized in machine learning and big data analytics software for the marketing sector. In the past I have been a postdoctoral fellow of the Flemish Research Foundatiion (FWO-Vlaanderen). In that period I have been a visiting researcher at the University of Marburg in Germany (prof. Eyke Hullermeier) and the University of Turku in Finland (prof. Tapio Salakoski). I hold a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science (2004) and a Ph.D. degree in Engineering (2008) from Ghent University. I did my PhD in the former SYSTemS-group of the Department of Electrical Energy, Systems and Automation.

Research interests

My main interests are machine learning and data science, including theoretical research and various applications in the life sciences. In previous work, I have been using ideas from other domains as well, such as decision theory, statistics, fuzzy set theory and graph theory. Many of my older papers can be situated in the field of preference learning. In the last five years I have been mainly active in the field of multi-target prediction. About this topic I have organized a tutorial at ICML 2013 and workshops at ECML/PKDD 2014 and ECML/PKDD 2015. Current application domain in which I am active are climate science, synthetic biology, microbial flow cytometry and food science.

Teaching activities

Predictive Modelling, fall, annually
Master in Bio-science Engineering and Bioinformatics, since 2008

Mathematics 1, fall, annually
1st Bachelor in Bio-science Engineering, since 2014

Mathematics 2, spring, annually
1st Bachelor in Bio-science Engineering, since 2014


The long-standing cooperation between members of KERMIT and members of the Department of Information Technology and the Turku Centre for Computer Science (University of Turku, Finland) has resulted in the 2015 IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Outstanding TFS Paper Award for their contribution "A kernel-based framework for learning graded relations from data" (W. Waegeman, T. Pahikkala, A. Airola, T. Salakoski, M. Stock and B. De Baets) which has appeared in the December 2012 issue of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

We are organizing at ECML/PKDD 2014 a workshop on Multi-target Prediction. Check out all details here.

We have organized a tutorial on Multi-target Prediction at ICML 2013. This tutorial intended to give a unifying overview of various subfields of multi-target prediction, such as multi-label classification, multivariate regression, structured output prediction and multi-task learning. The video can be found here.

The Best Paper Award was awarded for the contribution An analysis of chaining in multi-label classification (K. Dembczynski, W. Waegeman and E. Huellermeier) at the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (Montpellier, France, August 2012).

Our team has won the second price in the JRS 2012 Data Mining Competition on topical classification of biomedical research articles (W. Cheng, K. Dembczynski, E. Huellermeier, A. Jaroszewicz and W. Waegeman). The submission was based on our F-measure maximizing algorithm, which was published at NIPS 2011.

Review work

I have been a reviewer for the following journals and conferences: IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Machine Learning Journal, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Journal of the American Statistical Association, IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Statistical Analysis and Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Man, Systems and Cybernetics B, European Journal of Operational Research, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Journal of Pattern Recognition Research, Journal of Approximate Reasoning, Simulation Modelling Theory and Practice, Applied Mathematical Modelling, Amino Acids, Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, Neural Computing and Applications, Neurocomputing, Omega, Soft Computing, Journal of the Korean Statistical Society, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, NIPS, ICML, IJCAI, CIKM, AAAI, ECML/PKDD, ECAI, ICANN, ESANN, ISDA, BENELEARN.