Current Projects

CAREER: Explanation-based Optimization of Diversified Information Retrieval to Enhance AI Systems
This NSF-funded research project will focus on diverse and unbiased information access systems with the goal of making information seeking easier, more effective, and trustworthy for both day-to-day and power users. The project aims to enable users to obtain an interpretable, diverse, and unbiased set of alternative answers, viewpoints, subtopics, or aspects as required for various questions or tasks in information access systems, where each distinct answer or viewpoint is faithfully attributable to a set of evidence and supporting information sources.

CAREER: Enriching Conversational Information Retrieval via Mixed-Initiative Interactions
This NSF-funded research project addresses a key aspect of the future of search technology by providing access to information through natural language conversations. It aims to advance the state-of-the-art in conversational search by envisioning solutions that consider mixed-initiative interactions by studying (1) theoretical foundations for measuring mixed-initiative conversations; (2) models for clarifying the user's information needs; and (3) models for proactive informational contributions to ongoing conversations.

Athena: Learning-oriented Search With Personalized Learning Flows
This NSF-funded project is a collaboration with the CIIR and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Athena project will develop technology called "search as learning," a set of search technologies that encourage and support learning rather than just simple document finding. The Athena work will extend the state of the art in text representation, neural approaches including attention techniques, query and topic modeling, contextual text summarization, and understanding human approaches to complex search activities.

The Lemur Project is a collaboration with the CIIR and the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The Lemur Toolkit is designed to facilitate research in language modeling and information retrieval, where IR is broadly interpreted to include such technologies as ad hoc and distributed retrieval, cross-language IR, summarization, filtering, and classification. As part of the Lemur project, the CIIR has developed Indri, a language model-based search engine for complex queries. In an NSF funded CRI collaborative research project between UMass Amherst and CMU, the team is focusing on the continued development of the open-source Lemur software toolkit for language modeling and information retrieval.

Mirador: Explainable Computational Models for Recognizing and Understanding Controversial Topics Encountered Online
Mirador is an NSF-funded research project whose aim is to develop algorithms and tools that allow a person to recognize that a web page or other document discusses one or more topics that are controversial -- that is, about which there is strong disagreement within some sizeable group of people. The project will develop algorithms and tools that explain the controversy surrounding the topic, identifying the populations that disagree, the stances that they take, and how those stances conflict with each other. The project will assist people in critical evaluation of on-line material and help them understand why a page is educative or why it is not.