Goodfellow earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University. He obtained PhD in Machine Learning from the Université de Montréal under the supervision of Yoshua Bengio and Aaron Courville in 2014.
He has contributed to the advancement of machine learning. He invented the machine learning approach generative adversarial networks (GANs). He wrote the MIT textbook Deep Learning with Yoshua Bengio and Aaron Courville.
He joined Google as part of the Google Brain research team. In 2016, he left Google to join the newly founded OpenAI institute. He returned to Google Research in March 2017. He developed a system that enables Google Maps to automatically transcribe addresses from photos taken by Street View cars and demonstrated security vulnerabilities of machine learning systems.
Ian joined Apple in March 2019 as a Director of Machine Learning in the Special Projects Group.
Ian Goodfellow was named in MIT Technology Review's 35 Innovators Under 35 in 2017 for Inventing a way for neural networks to get better by working together.