Victor Schmidt

PhD candidate: AI vs Climate Change @ Mila & Université de Montréal
Supervised by Prof. Yoshua Bengio


Mila - C2084

6666 rue Saint-Urbain

Montréal, QC H2S 3H1, Canada

schmidtv 🌀


💡 I am a final year PhD student interested mostly in applications of AI in the fight against climate change. This has led me to explore various areas, from computer vision and GANs to geometric graphs for materials modeling.

1️⃣ My first PhD project focused on creating AI visualizations of what your home could look like if climate-related extreme events (floods, wildfires or smog events) happened there. It’s not about climate projections, it’s about empathy: a climate in which every address in the world is experiencing floods, wildfires and smog at the same time does not exist. But the one we have is getting warmer, more dangerous, and everyone’s actions have global consequences. This is why we published ClimateGAN (ICLR 2022) and deployed it on This Climate Does Not Exist.

2️⃣ The second project I’ve worked on for almost 2 years now is about using AI for materials discovery. The long-term goal is to contribute to the discovery of more efficient electro-catalysts that would improve the energy efficiency of a wide range of chemical reactions. To that end, I have worked on graph neural networks for materials property prediction: PhAST (under review at JMLR) and FAENet (ICML 2023). I am now focusing on using this work within a generative model (GFlowNet) to efficiently explore the huge space of potential electro-catalysts.

3️⃣ Finally, I wanted to keep an eye on my own community and work towards quantifying the carbon emissions of machine learning. This lead to a workshop paper (Climate Change AI workshop, NeurIPS 2019) and its online emissions calculator, and a Python open-source library: codecarbon.

Community work

Beyond publishing, I try to be a good member of our community.

TL;DR Resume

Prior to this PhD, I was a student at École polytechnique, France (Engineering degree - 2012→2016), and at University College London, UK (MSc. in Machine Learning - 2016→2017). I also worked for about a year as a Public Interest Entrepreneur at the French Ministry for the Econommy and Finance (2018).

Open source

I also love creating open-source libraries. I tend to be the kind of persons who will spend a week or a month automating something that takes a couple hours, and then make an open-source project out ouf it. This is how I came to build PaperMemory a web-based automated reference manager, minydra a minimalist Python argument parser, ntfy-wrapper a simple notification wrapper around the service, or gitmopy an interactive CLI to make pretty commits following the Gitmoji specification.

In a previous life, I also created, a website to visualize the hierarchies of ownership in the French media.

selected publications

  1. climategan.jpeg
    ClimateGAN: Raising Climate Change Awareness by Generating Images of Floods
    Victor Schmidt*, Alexandra Sasha Luccioni*, Mélisande Teng, and 8 more authors
    ICLR, 2022
  2. phast.png
    PhAST: Physics-Aware, Scalable, and Task-specific GNNs for Accelerated Catalyst Design
    Alexandre Duval*, Victor Schmidt*, Santiago Miret, and 3 more authors
    In AI for Accelerated Materials Design NeurIPS 2022 Workshop, 2022
  3. faenet.png
    FAENet: Frame Averaging Equivariant GNN for Materials Modeling
    Alexandre Duval*, Victor Schmidt*, Alex Hernandez Garcia, and 4 more authors
    ICML 2023, 2023
  4. torchgfn.png
    torchgfn: A PyTorch GFlowNet library
    Salem Lahlou, Joseph D. Viviano, and Victor Schmidt
    arXiv preprint arXiv: 2305.14594, 2023
  5. impact.png
    Quantifying the Carbon Emissions of Machine Learning
    Alexandre Lacoste*, Alexandra Luccioni*, Victor Schmidt*, and 1 more author
    Climate Change AI workshop, NeurIPS, 2019