William Kennedy

Ottawa, Canada
Lab Leader, AI Research Lab

Research Interests


I hold a joint PhD in mathematics and computer science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 2011, I joined Bell Labs as a post-doctoral researcher before becoming a Member of Technical Staff in the Mathematics of Network Systems Department.  I currently head Nokia Bell Labs' Artificial Intelligence Research Lab and am focused on creating solutions for critically hard and important industry problems through disruptive research into algorithms, machine learning fundamentals and applications, and real-time analytics. I apply my unique depth in both mathematics and computing technologies to envision the evolution and future effects of artificial intelligence ultimately building disruptive technologies to realize this vision. My current research focuses on moving beyond existing machine learning systems towards systems that mimic the human capacity for analytical thinking.  When not imagining the future, I can usually be found skiing or cycling.



Featured Quote

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

--Leonard Cohen


I received a Ph.D. from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the School of Computer Science at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec in 2011. My supervisors were Bruce Reed and Bruce Shepherd. My research was partially funded by an NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship.

Ph.D. Thesis: Fractional Edge and Total Colouring

I received a M.Sc. from the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta in 2005. My supervisors were Ryan Hayward and Guohui Lin. My research was partially funded by an NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship.

M.Sc. Thesis: Strictly Chordal Graphs and Phylogenetic Roots

I received a B.Sc. in Mathematics, specialization Computational Science, at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta in 2003. My summer research under Ryan Hayward was partially funded by an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award.

Selected articles and publications

  1. W. Sean Kennedy, Jamie Morgenstern, Gordon Wilfong and Lisa Zhang, Hierarchical Community Decomposition Via Oblivious Routing Techniques, ACM Conference on Online Social Networks (COSN'13), 2013.
  2. Katherine Edwards, Simon Griths and W. Sean Kennedy, Partial Interval Set Cover|Trade-o s Between Scalability and Optimality, APPROX 2013, 2013.
  3. W. Sean Kennedy and Andrew King, Finding a smallest odd hole in a claw-free graph using global structure, to appear Discrete Applied Mathematics, 2013.
  4. Glencora Borradaile, W. Sean Kennedy, Gordon Wilfong and Lisa Zhang, Improving Robustness of Next-Hop Routing, Submitted, 2013. 
  5. Peter Cogan, Matthew Andrews, Milan Bradonjic, W. Sean Kennedy, Gabriel Tucci and Alessandra Sala, Reconstruction and Analysis of Twitter Conversation Graphs, proc. of the First ACM International Workshop on Hot Topics on Interdisciplinary Social Networks Research. ACM: 25--31, 2012.
  6. W. Sean Kennedy, H. Kong, Guohui Lin and G. Yan, Linear Time Construction of 5-Phylogenetic Roots for Tree Chordal Graphs J. of Combinatorial Optimization 19.1: 94--106, 2010.
  7. Conor Meagher, W. Sean Kennedy and Bruce Reed, Fractionally Edge Colouring
  8. Graphs with Large Maximum Degree in Linear Time, EuroComb 2009; Electronic Notes in Discrete Mathematics 34: 47-51, 2009.


  1. W. Sean Kennedy, Iraj Saniee and Christopher White, Systems And Methods For Preserving Privacy ForWeb Applications. Patent Application, Filing No. 13/683069, Filed Nov. 2012. 
  2. Deepak Ajwani, W. Sean Kennedy, Alessandra Sal and Iraj Saniee, Systems And Methods For Distance Approximation In Graphs. Patent Application, Filing No. 14/041210, Filed Sep. 2013. 
  3. W. Sean Kennedy, Jamie Morgenstern, Gordon Wilfong and Yihao Zhang, Methods And Systems For Determining Hierarchical Community Decomposition. Patent Application, Filing No. 14/046149, Filed Oct. 2013