CIIR Leadership Team Changes

Effective January 2021, Professor James Allan and Assistant Professor Hamed Zamani have taken on new leadership roles in the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR) as Distinguished Professor Emeritus Bruce Croft has stepped down as CIIR director. Dr. Allan becomes the CIIR director and Dr. Zamani is named associate director.

CIIR co-director from 2003-2020, Professor James Allan becomes the CIIR director as he continues in his second term as UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) chair of the faculty. In other leadership positions, he was elected as Treasurer of the Computing Research Association (CRA) Executive Committee in 2019 and again in 2021 after having been elected to the CRA board of directors in 2018. In 2021, he was inducted into the SIGIR Academy and named an ACM Fellow for his research contributions to the field.

CIIR Associate Director Zamani joined the CICS faculty in 2020. With his new role in the CIIR, Dr. Zamani will increase efforts on building up relations with industry partners and other new faculty at UMass Amherst. For 2020-2021, he organized the CIIR Talk Series, an initiative for researchers and practitioners working on information retrieval and related disciplines to present their work. Prior to joining the CICS faculty, Dr. Zamani, a PhD alum of the CIIR, was a researcher at Microsoft. From 2017-2019, he was the ACM SIGIR Student Liaison representing North and South Americas.

After he retired from the CICS faculty in 2018, Dr. Croft remained as director of the CIIR, a position he held since the CIIR was established as an NSF S/IUCRC in 1992. Prof. Croft was also the inaugural dean of CICS from 2015-2017. He plans to continue with research and advising doctoral students. Recent recognition of his research included being named to the 2021 class of IEEE Fellows for contributions to the field of information retrieval and being selected to the SIGIR Academy.

The CIIR is recognized as one of the world’s leading IR research groups. The Center has produced over 1,100 publications, worked with over 100 industry/government partners, and has graduated over 75 Phd students.