I am an assistant professor of AI and social justice at the Khoury School of Computer Science, Northeastern University. My research goal is to design inclusive and equitable language technologies. This involves developing systems that communicate effectively with diverse populations, especially those from underserved communities. By integrating insights from cognitive science and social sciences with machine learning, I design computational models that capture the diversity of interpretation and reflect the success of language as a communicative tool.
I aspire to discern and address biases in learning models, especially in applications such as education, health, and social justice. This aspiration has led me to collaborate with educators, healthcare experts, and community leaders to create inclusive technology-enabled experiences.
Collaborative Conversational AI with Applications in Education and Health
Modeling collaboration as shared meaning construction; Grounding, and generation
Inclusive Language Technologies for Positive Impact
AI-assisted moderation and mediation; harm measurement and ethics of social interactions with AI; oppressive practices & norms; pragmatics of harmful speech
August 15: I will be teaching a tutorial titled "Practical Tools from Domain Adaptation for Designing Inclusive, Equitable, and Robust Generative AI" at AACL 2023" with Anthony Sicilia. July 9: We are presenting four papers at ACL2023. July 1: We are semi-finalists in the international Amazon Taskbot competition. May 15: My lab is moving to Northeastern Univerity in Fall 2023 November 30: Talk at UMD October 28: Talk at Rochester October 8: Talk at UT Austin Our paper titled "How to Ask for Donations? Learning User-Specific Persuasive Dialogue Policies through Online Interactions" has received the James Chen Best Student paper award at the 30th ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation, and Personalization. June 2022: Talk at UCLA. January 2022: Talk at Gallaudet University. December 21, 2021: Talk at the University of Amsterdam. December 2, 2021: Recieved a DARPA grant (with SRI research) to work on developing AI moderators. December 1, 2021: Talk at the University of Memphis. September 21, 2021: Our paper on Examining Covert Gender Bias: a case study in Turkish and English machine translation models won the best paper award at the 14th International Conference on Natural Language Generation (INLG 2021). August 20, 2021: Received a Google grant to develop a multi-disciplinary AI ethics curriculum, with Yuru Lin, Rebecca Hwa, Diane Litman, and Rosta Farzan. July 5, 2021: Our paper on Sign Language Processing won the best theme paper award at ACL 2021. June 16, 2021: Talk at Universität Potsdam. February 2021: Received the Pitt momentum teaming grant to work on developing multimodal technology to improve deaf students' access to STEM education, with Rich Boyce, Kenneth Dehaan, Sheila Prat, and David Boone. February 2021: Thanks to PittCyber for supporting our research on modeling coordination in political discourse. February 4, 2021: Talk at AI2 and UW. January 11, 2021: I am one of the recipients of the PittCybber Grant to study argumentation in political discourse. January 4, 2021: I am affiliated with the Intelligent Systems program. November 20, 2020: Talk at LTI-CMU. October 16, 2020: I've received the GoogleCSR grant to support students from underrepresented groups to pursue graduate studies and research careers in computing. October 5: Talk at Indiana University August 25, 2020: I am affiliated with Pitt Cyber May 27, 2020: Talk at SRI March 26, 2020: Talk at Rice March 19, 2020: Talk at University of Florida March 3, 2020: Talk at University of Pittsburgh February 26, 2020: Talk at Penn State February 18, 2020: Talk at Illinois Tech February 10, 2020: Presentation at AAAI-2020 February 3, 2020: Talk at Brown University November 22, 2019: Talk at NYC Natural Language, Dialog, and Speech Symposium
Email: m.alikhani AT northeastern DOT edu
Prospective graduate students: Please apply through the Khoury admission portal and mention my name. Unfortunately, I won't be able to answer individual emails.
Sign Language Processing
Sign language understanding and generation; designing interactive AI systems for signers with applications in healthcare and education.
Equitable and Robost NLP
Studying generalization and robustness of NLP models using the tools of learning theory; designing theoretical machine learning frameworks for NLP tasks such as language generation and dialogue management
Action Editor: ACL Rolling Review Publication Chair: SigDial 2022 Organizing Committee: AAAI22-UC Area Chair: *SEM2022 Area Chair, NAACL 2021, Discourse and Pragmatics Area Chair, EACL 2021, Dialogue Systems Co-Organizer: The first workshop on "Document Grounded Dialogue and Conversational QA" at ACL 2021 Co-Organizer: The second workshop on "RoboNLP" at ACL 2021 Co-Organizer: The third workshop on "Spatial Language Understanding" at EMNLP 2020 Tutorial: "Achieving Common Ground in Multimodal Dialogue" with Matthew Stone at ACL 2020 Program Committee: AAAI, ACL, EMNLP, NAACL, NeurIPS, ICMI, SemDial, FAccTT Reviewer: Discourse and Dialogue, Information Fusion, Peer J, Language and Resource, Springer Nature, PLOS ONE
Recent Selected Service
News Coverage and Interviews