2018-2019 Accomplishments in Search & AI Awards

The Accomplishments in Search & AI Award recognizes UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences graduate students who have research achievements in the broad areas of search and artificial intelligence. This award was created by industry sponsors to acknowledge our college’s distinguished reputation in these areas.

The 2018-2019 Accomplishments in Search & AI Awards are sponsored by Microsoft. This year’s award recipients are:

Su Lin Blodgett

Su Lin Blodgett’s work on racial disparity in natural language processing has already had an impact on AI research, and has clear implications for search systems and other language technologies -- as well as bridging AI to linguistics and the social sciences, both bringing in insights to better design AI systems in light of human social systems, and using AI tools to improve sociolinguistics research.

Bio: Su Lin Blodgett is an M.S./Ph.D. student advised by Asst. Prof. Brendan O’Connor in the Statistical Social Language Analysis (SLANG) lab within the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is interested in developing fair, robust statistical text analysis tools to answer social science, particularly sociolinguistic, questions. Currently, she is working on developing models to identify dialectal variation on social media. In one research project, she focused on African-American English (AAE), a dialect spoken by tens of millions of people. It rarely appears in books and newspapers, but is very prevalent in social media, where people speak conversationally.

Su Lin joined CICS in 2015 after receiving a B.A. in Mathematics from Wellesley College. She received a competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2017. Su Lin is an active community member, who works with multiple student groups on campus to promote female participation in computer science and STEM fields, serving in leadership positions in CS Women, for example, and helping run workshops on gender in CICS. She accepted an internship position at Microsoft Research in New York City in the office fairness/ethnics in AI for this summer. More on Su Lin.

Hamed Zamani

Hamed Zamani is rapidly building a reputation as one of best young researchers in the information retrieval (IR) community. He has already made an unusually high number of very significant contributions across a broad spectrum of areas of IR. This research has involved many collaborations with researchers across the world, in addition to his thesis research. His recent research is generally regarded as some of the most innovative using neural network models and machine learning techniques for information retrieval.

Bio: Hamed Zamani is a doctoral student advised by Distinguished Professor Bruce Croft in the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR). His research focuses on developing models of information retrieval and related tasks, such as recommendation, along with the training, indexing, and evaluation methodologies needed to demonstrate that these models are effective and can be implemented in real, large-scale applications. He has over 30 publications in high quality conference proceedings and journals.

Hamed joined CICS after receiving a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Tehran in 2013 and 2015 respectively. He was ranked 1st among all engineering masters students at the Univ. of Tehran. He has received the CICS Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award and the CICS Outstanding Synthesis Project Award. Hamed has served as a program committee member for the SIGIR, WWW, WSDM, RecSys, and CIKM conferences, in addition to a number of workshops, and he has organized two ACM workshops. He has also completed reviews for a number of journals. Recently, he was made the ACM SIGIR Student Liaison representing North and South America. More on Hamed.