Kayak appoints first chief scientist

Kayak.com, the world’s largest travel search site, today announces the appointment of Giorgos Zacharia as chief scientist.

Zacharia, who has a PhD in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will apply his expertise in predictive modeling and machine learning to improve speed, personalization and general efficiency across all Kayak.com brands.

Zacharia will be based in the company’s engineering headquarters in Concord, Massachussets.

“Bringing Giorgos on board as Chief Scientist is a huge milestone for Kayak.com,” said Paul English, co-founder and chief technology officer.

“Giorgos’ background and leadership are a perfect match for Kayak.com’s focus on personalization and speed.  While other travel sites bias their hotel display order by profitability, Kayak.com lists hotels by popularity and relevance to each individual user.

“Giorgos is building algorithms to further personalize the hotel display so the user can find what they’re looking for more easily, without being distracted by hotels out of their interest set.”

“My work at MIT was focused on optimizing performance and relevancy of information from very large datasets.” said Zacharia. “While I’ve worked with several companies over the years, Kayak.com has the quickest team I’ve seen in terms of understanding and deploying innovative technologies.

“The travel field is ripe for improvements to user experience and choice.  I am excited to work with Paul and his team to make dramatic speed and personalization enhancements across the Kayak.com platform.”

Zacharia previously served as co-founder, CTO and CSO of Open Ratings, Inc, a leading provider of supply risk management solutions.  Zacharia was also instrumental in co-founding two machine learning-driven hedge funds, Stocknomics Ltd. and Emporics Capital Management, LLC.

He is a Fulbright Scholar, holds four math and computer science degrees from MIT and has won five medals in International Mathematical and Physics Olympiads.

More information:

* Kayak

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