Basis is a nonprofit applied research organization with two mutually reinforcing goals.

Our Mission

Basis is a nonprofit applied research organization with two mutually reinforcing goals.

The first is to understand and build intelligence. This means to establish the mathematical principles of what it means to reason, to learn, to make decisions, to understand, and to explain; and to construct software that implements these principles.

The second is to advance society’s ability to solve intractable problems. This means expanding the scale, complexity, and breadth of problems that we can solve today, and even more importantly, accelerating our ability to solve problems in the future.

To achieve these goals, we’re building both a new technological foundation that draws inspiration from how humans reason, and a new kind of collaborative organization that puts human values first.

Who We Are

Our Team

Between our core members, advisors, and collaborators, Basis is made up of:

Zenna Tavares ↗︎

Zenna Tavares is a co-founder and director of Basis, innovation scholar in Columbia University’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, and associate research scientist in the Data Science Institute. Tavares’s research aims to understand how humans reason, that is, how they come to derive knowledge from observing and interacting with the world. He constructs computational and statistical tools that help advance his work on causal reasoning, probabilistic programming, and other areas.

Eli Bingham ↗︎

Eli Bingham is a co-founder and director of Basis, a machine learning fellow in the Data Sciences Platform at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a co-creator and core developer of the Pyro probabilistic programming language, and formerly a senior research scientist at Uber AI Labs. He focuses on research at the intersection of probabilistic machine learning, programming languages, and biology and on bringing that research to practice by delivering high-quality open-source software to many thousands of users.

Emily Mackevicius ↗︎

Emily Mackevicius is a co-founder and director of Basis, a member of the Simons Society of Fellows, and a postdoc in the Aronov lab and the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute. Mackevicius’s research uncovers how complex cognitive behaviors are generated by networks of neurons through local interactions and learning mechanisms. Her theoretical work is strongly grounded in experimental practice, currently neural recordings in food-caching birds with extreme memory abilities.

Sam Witty ↗︎

Sam Witty is a research scientist at Basis, an affiliate researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a PhD candidate in computer science at UMass Amherst, and formerly a visiting researcher in MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department. His research goal is to develop AI and ML methods that help scientists discover more and that help policymakers make better decisions.

Kai Ye ↗︎

Kai Ye is a research scientist at Basis and a research fellow at the Center for Arts, Design + Social Research. Formerly a PhD candidate at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft Research PhD Fellow, their work applies computing techniques (particularly from the fields of information visualization, human-computer interaction, and participatory design) to engage communities in co-designing technologies that support their own needs, with a focus on contexts that have been traditionally overlooked by the computing mainstream.

Martin Jankowiak ↗︎

Martin Jankowiak is a research scientist (part-time) at Basis, a machine learning fellow in the Data Sciences Platform at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a co-creator and core developer of Pyro and NumPyro. He was previously a senior research scientist at Uber AI Labs and has a PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford. He works on a wide range of topics across probabilistic machine learning, high-dimensional statistics and applications in computational biology.

Archana Warrier ↗︎

Archana Warrier is a visiting student at Basis and a Master’s student at TU Kaiserslautern, co-mentored by Zenna Tavares and Sebastian Vollmer. Her interests lie in the fields of causality and Bayesian inference.

Want to work with us? Learn more about opportunities to join our research collaborations, and career opportunities, here.


Armando Solar-Lezama ↗︎

Solar-Lezama is a professor at MIT EECS and an associate director and the COO of MIT CSAIL, where he leads the Computer-Aided Programming Group.

Joshua Tenenbaum ↗︎

Tenenbaum is professor of Computational Cognitive Science in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Scientific Director with the MIT Quest for Intelligence, an investigator at the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines and MIT CSAIL, and a MacArthur Fellow.

Kevin Ellis ↗︎

Ellis is an assistant professor of computer science at Cornell, where his group works on artificial intelligence, deep learning and program synthesis.

Anthony Philippakis ↗︎

Philippakis is chief data officer of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, co-director of the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center for AI and Biology, a venture partner at GV, and a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Rui Costa ↗︎

Costa is a professor of neuroscience and outgoing CEO of the Zuckerman Institute at Columbia, the incoming CEO of the Allen Institute, and an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the National Academy of Medicine.

Contact Us

If you are interested in supporting our mission to create a new space for AI research with financial or other resources, or collaborating with us on either core technology or any of our current challenge problems, please reach us at

If you’d like to stay up to date on Basis news, software releases, or challenge problems please join our mailing list.