Negin Rahimi receives NSF CAREER Award for Research on Trustworthy Information Retrieval

Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) Assistant Professor Negin Rahimi received a $599,916 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her project, Explanation-based Optimization of Diversified Information Retrieval to Enhance AI Systems, which will commence in September 2024.

Rahimi’s research aims to build general-purpose and unbiased intelligent systems for information access through learning, user interaction, and enhanced interpretability.

Her CAREER project’s research 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.

“Large generative artificial intelligence (AI) models, such as ChatGPT, are widely used for information seeking, but they are subject to problems such as hallucinations, unsupported misleading answers, outright misinformation, and hidden biases,” explains Rahimi. “Another issue is ambiguous user queries. Current systems, including those that employ large language models (LLMs), do not appropriately model ambiguity to provide users with alternative answers to their questions.”

To address these issues, Rahimi’s CAREER 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.

Assistant Professor Rahimi joined the UMass Amherst CICS Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR) in 2019 as a senior postdoctoral research associate. Within CICS, she was promoted to research assistant professor in 2021 and to tenure-track assistant professor in January 2024. She is continuing her affiliation with the CIIR.

According to NSF, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.