Ricky Ma

Cognitive data scientist + ML research engineer.
BSc. Cognitive Systems - Computational Intelligence and Design.

Hello! I am currently a machine learning engineer at Rebel Space Technologies building tech that enables autonomous, ad-hoc wireless connectivity in dynamic environments for mission-critical operations - come check us out!

In my free time, I am developing a platform to supercharge human rights and environmental law protection at Lautonomy. My co-founder and I hope to improve redress and access to legal representation for torture survivors and asylum seekers by removing the complexity that systemically blocks fair and equitable access to law. I also collaborate closely with Tobias Gerstenberg at Stanford’s Causality in Cognition Lab, researching computational models of counterfactual inference and how causal networks and simulations can be used to model these cognitive processes in humans.

I completed my BSc. at UBC studying Cognitive Systems with a focus in Computational Intelligence and Design, directed by the Computer Science Department. I’ve spent time at the WiNMoS Lab with Yanjie Dong doing research in decentralized reinforcement learning. I’ve also worked with Matthew Cooke at Snyder Lab on scientific software development and data analysis for behavioural neuroscience.

Previously, I developed a novel framework for unsupervised anomalous object detection at RecyclEye. At Algomo, I created an interactive model-understanding and evaluation platform for chatbot data and feedback, and invented a brand-new method for named entity recognition using OpenAI’s GPT-3.

Research interests:

  • Multi-agent deep reinforcement learning
  • Self-supervised and semi-supervised learning
  • Causal reasoning and its effects on interpretability and generalization
  • Causal learning and inference in neural networks and time-series models
  • ML and AI for social good


Jul 16, 2021 Excited to announce that I will be officially joining Lautonomy as CTO. I hope to use my knowledge and experience to contribute to Lautonomy’s goal of promoting equal access to legal services for all.
May 12, 2021 I am joining the Causality in Cognition Lab at Stanford University as a visiting student researcher! I will be studying computational models of counterfactual inference.
Apr 26, 2021 I’m graduating soon! :sparkles: :fire:

selected publications

  1. arXiv
    ODDObjects: A Framework for Multiclass Unsupervised Anomaly Detection on Masked Objects
    Ma, Ricky
    arXiv preprint 2021
  2. F1000
    Pathfinder: open source software for analyzing spatial navigation search strategies
    Cooke, Matthew B, O’Leary, Timothy P, Phelan, Harris, Ma, Ricky, Brown, Richard E, and Snyder, Jason
    F1000Research 2020