Ram Akella

Professor of Information Systems and Technology Management
Director, Center for Knowledge, Information Systems, and Management of Technology
University of California Santa Cruz

Postdoctoral Associate, Massachussetts Institute of Technology
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
PhD, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
BTech, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Contact Information

Email: akella@soe.ucsc.edu, Tel: +1-650-279-3078 (Cell)
UCSC: E2-563, Baskin School of Engineering, UCSC,1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077
Silicon Valley Center (SVC): 2505 Augustine Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95054

Research Interests

Large Scale Live Analytics and Management

  • Data Analytics: Machine Learning, Interactive Information Retrieval (SAP), Information Extraction and Service Analytics (Cisco), Data, Text, Image and Video Mining (NASA), Social Networks and  Dynamic Bayesian Recommender Systems (Google), Personalization, Computational Advertising (with Yahoo), Online Marketing (AOL Faculty Award), Local Search (AT&T Interactive), Query Intent Detection in Sponsored Search (Microsoft Faculty Award), Web Analytics and Active User Survey Sampling (CrowdScience), Social Media & Marketing Analytics (Serendio), Social Game Analytics - User Virality and Engagement (Claritics), Healthcare Analytics (IBM Faculty Award, CITRIS), Energy Analytics (CITRIS).
  • Business Analytics: Business and Management of Technology, Intelligent Services and Knowledge Management, IT, IS, Information Management, Service & Product Design, Delivery and Portfolios, Financial Engineering and Management, Investment, Process Learning, Supply Chain Management, Automation, Energy Analytics and Clean tech, Healthcare Analytics, Real-time Pricing Analytics, Educational Technologies.
  • Theory: Machine Learning, Stochastic Dynamic Programming and Control, Reinforcement Learning, Optimization, Stochastic models and processes, Linear Algebra, Bayesian Statistics


Professor Ram Akella is currently Professor and Director of the Center for Large-scale Live Analytics and Smart Services (CLASS), which includes SMART (Social Media Analytics Research Transformation), and the Center for Knowledge, Information Systems and Technology Management (KISMT) at the University of California at Silicon Valley Center/Santa Cruz. Prof. Akella started his academic career as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard and then joined MIT (EECS/LIDS and LFM) as a Postdoctoral Associate. He then joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1985 as an Associate Professor in the Tepper Business School (GSIA) and the School of Computer Science (CS/RI), before working at other institutions including MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, and establishing an ORU and TIM(ISTM) at UCSC/SVC as Founding Director/Chair.

Ram has actively changed his research and teaching focus over the years. At Stanford,his current research concerns Machine Learning, Data and Text Mining, Interactive Search, Analytics, and Smart Services in Healthcare, Computational Marketing, Financial and Business Services; previously, he has worked on problems in High Tech, IT, Outsourcing and BPO, Semiconductors, Cost Competitiveness, Product Life Cycle Management, Business Process Optimization and E-Business, as well as quality, fab economic models, cost of ownership and financial justification for IT Management and equipment, production planning and control. At the University of California at Berkeley, at CITRIS and the iSchool, his research and teaching concern Large Scale Analytics and Data Mining in Knowledge Services and Business Management, including Energy and Healthcare Analytics; previously he has taught Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and conducted research on Semiconductor Process Learning. His early work at CMU, MIT, Harvard and IISc was on real time automation and control and large scale systems theory, including seminal work on supply chain management, costing, and contracts.

A hallmark of Professor Akella's work is the extensive interaction with industry which leads to a deep and practical understanding of the domain and its problems. He then works with his students and industrial colleagues to address both the immediate problems and generalizations which are applicable to similar problems in other verticals. Ram’s research has had impact on US, Japanese, Asian, and European firms in a host of very diverse industries. He has worked with Web, Internet, and Software Technology firms (such as AOL, Google, Microsoft, SAP, Cisco, IBM), High Tech and Semiconductor/Nano firms (including AMD, TI, IBM, Digital, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, LSI Logic, HP, AT&T, KLA, Applied Materials, SRC), Automotive (American Axle, Delphi Automotive, General Motors), Aerospace (NASA and Lockheed), and Food (Rich Food Products, Heinz), and in doing so has led major multi-million dollar interdisciplinary team efforts in High Tech and Semiconductors with worldwide impact. In addition, Ram serves on the Boards of UTI (Unit Trust of India) Ventures, Cooptions Technologies and E-Soft and on the Technical Advisory Council of Yield Dynamics, and as a Charter Member of TIE. He enjoys helping companies grow and become profitable and is delighted when executives give him stock as a token of appreciation. He has co-authored a PanIIT report on Higher Education requested by the President of India.

Ram works closely with his students and is pleased with their success: doctoral students who have gone on to teach at major schools such as Northwestern, Michigan, NYU, USC, Dartmouth, and the London Business School, in some cases as Department Chairs and Heads of Programs, Partners at VC firrms such as Grand River Capital Management, and  Managing Directors of WK Technology Fund, and to work at major corporations such as E-Bay, Amazon, IBM, KLA-Tencor, TSMC, ABN/AMRO, Juniper, and BCG; and masters students and intern students who have gone on to become Vice Presidents of major corporations such as AT Kearney, or VC firms such as Advanced Technology Ventures, or founders and CEOs of companies such as Spoke and Merchant Circle.

Professor Akella received the Ph.D. in Systems/EECS from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) and a B.S. in Electronics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT). He has received several awards including the AOL Faculty Award, the IBM Faculty Award (thrice), the AMD Research Award, and the KLA Award, and has been cited in Marquis' Who's Who. Professor Akella has served as an Associate Editor for Operations Research and IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, and has been on the Editorial Board of Technology and Operations Review. He has also served as Guest Editor for IEEE Robotics and Automation: Special Issue on Manufacturing Systems, and on Program Committees such as WISE 2009, ACM SIGIR 2009 and 2010, International Conference on Services in Emerging Markets 2010, and Services Research Innovation Institute (SRII) 2011.