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Katharina von der Wense (neé Kann)

I’m an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at CU Boulder, where I work on natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. Research-wise, I am interested in multilingual NLP (how can we make NLP systems work for all of the world’s languages?), transfer learning (how can models use knowledge gained from a source task for a target task?), and computational morphology (how can models learn about and leverage subword information?). More generally, circumstances permitting, I spend a lot of my time traveling, dancing, hiking, biking, and scuba diving, and I love sushi, ice cream and watermelons.

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Luke Gessler

I am a postdoc with Prof. Katharina von der Wense in the computer science department. Previously, I obtained my Ph.D. in computational linguistics from Georgetown University. My major interest is in low-resource NLP, and my dissertation focused in particular on obtaining and evaluating low-resource word representations. I am especially interested in low-resource NLP as it relates to the language documentation, which is the process of recording a language's lexicon and grammar. I have also worked on lexical semantics, linguistically rich dataset development, and various structured prediction tasks. Outside of work, I love cooking East and South Asian food and brewing makgeolli, a traditional Korean drink made from rice.

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Abteen Ebrahimi

I'm a third-year PhD student advised by Prof. Katharina von der Wense. I'm broadly interested in multilingual NLP, with a focus on low-resource and unseen languages. Currently, I'm working on developing new resources and methods to increase model performance and community awareness for these languages. Previously, I worked on text generation and dialogue systems.

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Ananya Ganesh

I am a third-year PhD student advised by Profs. Katharina von der Wense and Martha Palmer. I'm broadly interested in natural language processing as applied to educational settings, and I’m currently working on developing NLP models to understand and improve classroom discourse. Previously, I was a research engineer in the NLP & Speech Research group at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and I received a Master's in Computer Science from UMass Amherst. In my free time, I enjoy reading fantasy fiction, solving puzzles, and exploring Boulder.

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Stéphane Aroca-Ouellette

After completing my undergrad at University of Toronto in computer engineering, I pursued my masters in computer science with a focus on natural language processing. While investigating new auxiliary tasks for BERT pre-training, I saw the power of modern language models while learning the inherent limitation of inhabiting purely textual environments. Co-advised by Alessandro Roncone and Katharina von der Wense, I am now working towards my PhD at CU Boulder to answer how robotics can help ground language in the real world and how language can help our interaction and collaboration with robots.

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Adam Wiemerslage

I am a second-year PhD student in computer science advised by Katharina von der Wense. My research interests are in natural language processing, particularly relating to computational morphology, under-represented languages, and multilingual models. I am especially interested in machine learning models that draw upon or explore linguistic insights. Previously I was a research scientist in industry, and before that I spent a year at a government laboratory, which has given me broad experience in various subareas of NLP. In my free time, I strive to be a good Coloradoan by hiking/biking/camping/climbing as well as brewing/tasting beer.

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Sagi Shaier

Currently a PhD student at CU Boulder, advised by Katharina von der Wense and Lawrence Hunter. I completed my undergraduate degree in computational and applied mathematics on the pre-med track with a focus on epidemiology. Later I worked in the industry for about 1.5 years in various machine learning & data science positions. My sights are set on using the intersection of artificial intelligence and neuroscience to improve people’s lives. My research interests are artificial general intelligence, dialogue systems, knowledge graphs, factuality, dynamic systems, continual learning, online learning, and biologically inspired algorithms. More specifically, developing medical dialogue systems that are factual, interpretable, validatable, and incorporate knowledge graphs. Outside of academia I spend most of my time practicing Muay Thai, hiking with my puppy, baking, and going on spontaneous road trips.

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Enora Rice

I am a first-year PhD student in computer science jointly advised by Katharina von der Wense and Alexis Palmer. My research interests center around developing universal natural language processing methods with an emphasis on low-resource/marginalized languages. I am particularly interested in creating tools that support language education. Previously, I worked on intelligent tutoring systems and language revitalization for Indigenous American languages.

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Maria Valentini

I am a first-year PhD student at CU Boulder advised by Katharina von der Wense. My current research is focused on natural language processing, particularly as it pertains to accessibility technology, natural language generation, and computational linguistics. I obtained undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Computer Information Systems from the College of St. Scholastica in May 2022, where I played on the collegiate tennis team. In my spare time, I enjoy music, reading, exploring new places, and hanging out with friends.

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Cory Paik

I am a second-year master student in computer science at CU Boulder. My research interests are in the development of AI systems that are able to comprehend the natural world in profound ways. My current project is investigating the behavior of NLP models within this context. Prior to this, I completed my undergraduate in computer science here at CU.

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Dorothea French

I'm a first-year PhD student, interested in NLP for education; especially language learning research and teaching methods. I'd also like to explore dialogue systems, multilingual NLP, and semantics, and their applications in this field. Currently I'm working on a project to determine whether language models and young English second-language learners make similar grammatical mistakes in English. In my free time, I enjoy playing board games, reading, and trying new food and drinks.

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Ali Marashian

I'm a first-year PhD student, jointly advised by Professors Katharina von der Wense and Alexis Palmer. I'm broadly interested in NLP for low-resource languages and incorporating linguistic knowledge into models. Right now I'm working on domain adaptation with limited resources, and I used to work on data augmentation.

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Aaron Gluck

I am a first-year PhD student advised by Katharina von der Wense and Maria Pacheco. I obtained my undergraduate degree in computer science at the University of Delaware. My current research interests are in NLP for education, question generation, and multilingual NLP. From a methods perspective, much of my future work will likely be neuro-symbolic in nature. I also have a recreational interest in more general AI theory aimed at improving upon current methods. Most of my time is spent in the ice rink, hiking, playing cards, or assembling custom mechanical keyboards.

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Minh Duc Bui

I'm a PhD student at JGU Mainz, advised by Katharina von der Wense. My research revolves around analyzing and developing techniques to enhance the transferability, efficiency, and adaptability of NLP models across various tasks and languages. Prior to this, I completed my bachelor's degree in "Mathematics in Business and Economics", and subsequently pursued a master's degree in "Data Science" with a strong emphasis on NLP. Following the completion of my master's degree, I transitioned into the industry, where I worked as a data scientist in the autonomous driving field.

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Nishant Bhattacharya

I'm a master's student at CU boulder and my interests lie in natural language understanding and grounding. Currently, I am working on a project which tries to impart the concept of negation to language models. Before pursuing my master's degree I worked on computer vision algorithms for self-driving cars as a project assistant at the Indian Institute of Science for 2.5 years. I was also part of CA Technologies as a software engineer for 7 months. Outside of academics, I love to take on pet projects like coding flight controllers or playing sports like football, badminton, and table tennis.

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Abhishek Purushothama

I am a master's student in computer science at CU Boulder. My interests are in natural language processing and its applications. I am currently exploring multilingual and cross-lingual NLP. Before this, I was a software engineer at VMware for 4 years. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, watching TV shows, board games, and occasionally biking.

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Arvind Sreenivas

I am a master's student in computer science at CU Boulder. My research interests are in the area of low-resource languages and machine translation that would help breach the language resource gap amongst people. Currently I’m working on observing the effects of hyperparameters on LSTMs & Transformers along with the impact that types of words might have on them. I enjoy watching TV shows, exploring the outdoors and making impromptu plans with friends!

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Rohan Das

I am a master's student in Computer Science. My research interests are broadly in Natural Language Processing with a focus on Computational Creativity. I am specifically interested in whether large language models can understand/generate creative text as well as maintain figurative aspects of language when applied to tasks like machine translation. Currently, I am working on exploring how to beneficially use morphological information within pre-trained transformer models for machine translation. Previously I was a software engineer in industry, where I worked on problems in the enterprise content management domain. Outside of work, I am an amateur aquascaper and I enjoy attending concerts and reading long-form sports journalism.

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Chiranthan Sridhar

I am a master's student in computer science at CU. My current interests in NLP are evaluating factuality of language models and building applications for the low-resource setting. Before coming to CU, I worked as a software developer in Cisco for over 3 years. I am an amateur pianist, I like badminton and swimming and I watch TV shows in my free time.

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Rachna Konigari

I am a graduate student in computer science. I am broadly interested in collaborative dialogue agents and their application to different domains. I have previously worked with detection of off-topic utterances from a human--human conversation and also on automatic question generation. I love to explore the intersection between NLP and HCI. Prior to coming to UCB, I was working in the industry as a data scientist to help understand multi-word expressions in Indic languages. I have completed my bachelor's in computer science and master's in computational linguistics in IIIT Hyderabad, where my thesis was broadly exploring the interactive responses that can be generated in conversational systems. In my free time, I love writing poems, playing the piano, and hiking with my friends.

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Ankush Raut

I'm a master's student in data science. For the past 4 years, I have worked as a data scientist, tackling problem statements across various domains, including supply chain management, retail, healthcare, FMCG, and payment gateways, among others. Currently, I'm focused on understanding how language models interpret context and how much information they can actually retrieve from multiple contexts. Specifically, my work involves developing a multi-hop question-answering system with up to 4 hops. In my free time, I have a passion for playing Blues guitar, a hobby I've enjoyed for the past couple of years. I am also an avid soccer player and enjoy exploring lake trails.

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Arunima Maitra

I am a master's student in computer science at CU Boulder. I'm broadly interested in natural language generation -- specifically its application for educational purposes. Currently I am working on a project to explore how well dialogue assistants can exhibit interpersonal synergy compared to that of professors in a classroom setting. I completed my undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering in June 2022. After that, I worked as a systems engineer for about 1 year before joining CU. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, painting, gardening, watching TV shows, and working out in the gym.

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George Baker

I'm a remote student in the Data Science M.S. program at CU Boulder, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm interested in applied AI and ML, most recently in the context of NLP. During the Fall 2022 semester I served as a student assistant with the CLEAR lab where I worked with NLP researchers to produce a multilingual (Spanish and English) event coreference dataset as a part of the AIDA project. In the past I've also been interested in the applications of AI and ML to drug design, chem/bioinformatics, and finance. In my free time I enjoy mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and playing classical guitar.


Previous NALA members

  • Connor Cook (master's student, 08/2020-12/2020)
  • Jeff Lucca (undergraduate student, 08/2020-03/2021)
  • Rajat Bhatnagar (master's student, 02/2020-05/2021)
  • Andrew Gerlach (master's student, 08/2020-05/2021)
  • Nikhil Prabhu (master's student, 08/2020-07/2021)
  • Changbing Yang (master's student, 08/2020-07/2021)
  • Yoshinari Fujinuma (PhD student, 08/2020-12/2021)
  • Pragna Mandadi (master's student, 12/2020-12/2021)
  • Jasdeep Singh (undergraduate student, 10/2021-05/2022)
  • Alexandra Barry (undergraduate student, 10/2021-05/2022)
  • Musaad Alarifi (undergraduate student, 10/2021-05/2022)
  • Shiran Dudy (postdoc, 04/2021-07/2022)
  • Trevor Hall (graduated undergraduate student, 06/2022-05/2023)
  • Zoe Stewart (undergraduate student, 04/2022-05/2023)
  • Satviki Pathak (master's student, 08/2022-05/2023)