The UW Master of Science in Computational Linguistics program features faculty and instructors who are leaders in the field, offering expertise in both teaching and research. In addition to courses taught by Department of Linguistics faculty, select courses are taught by guest instructors — typically industry professionals who hold doctorates in the discipline or in related fields.
Emily Bender – Director
Emily Bender is a professor in the Department of Linguistics and an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering. She joined the UW faculty in 2003 and has been the faculty director of the Master of Science in Computational Linguistics since the program's inception in 2005. Her primary research interests are in multilingual grammar engineering; the study of variation, both within and across languages; and the relationship between linguistics and computational linguistics. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. In 2009, she received the R1edu award for significant contributions to online and distance learning for her work in creating the online option for the UW master's in computational linguistics program. Bender earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Gina-Anne Levow is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics. She joined the UW faculty in 2010 to teach in the Master of Science in Computational Linguistics program. Her primary interest is spoken language processing, with a focus on the role of intonation in speech understanding. She has led National Science Foundation-funded projects investigating tone and intonation, multi-modal and multi-cultural interaction, and expression of stance and attitude in conversational speech. Prior to joining the UW, she served as a research fellow at the University of Manchester and on the faculty of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago. She also received an Office of Naval Research graduate fellowship. Levow earned her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Shane Steinert-Threlkeld joined the UW Department of Linguistics as an assistant professor in 2019. His research focuses on computational semantics and pragmatics and in using tools from cognitive science to inform computational linguistics and vice versa. He is also interested in explaining semantic universals, the properties of emergent communication among autonomous agents and uncovering semantic understanding in learned representations. Prior to joining the UW, he was a postdoc at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation in Amsterdam and spent time at Google’s Research and Machine Intelligence division (now Google AI). He completed his Ph.D. at Stanford.
A professor in the Department of Linguistics, Richard Wright joined the UW faculty in 1998 and is now department chair and the director of the department’s Phonetics Laboratory. Wright's primary interests are in quantifying the relationship between the systematic variation in the speech signal and higher-level linguistic structure such as discourse and intonation. He is also interested in applying this line of research to spoken language understanding. His language training includes English, French, Italian, Mandarin and Swahili. Wright's research at the UW has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation Information Technology Research for work on the Vocal Joystick; from the National Institutes of Health for work on speech perception under conditions of distortion; and from IBM for work on intonation. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Fei Xia is a professor in the Department of Linguistics and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics & Medical Education. Xia came to the UW in 2005. Her research covers a wide range of natural language processing tasks, including morphological analysis, part-of-speech tagging, grammar extraction and grammar generation, treebank development, machine translation, information extraction and bio-NLP. Her work is supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation (including the prestigious NSF CAREER grant), IARPA, Microsoft and the UW. Before joining the UW faculty, Xia was a research staff member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ryan Georgi is an acting assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics. His research interests include broadening accessibility for applications of NLP techniques, with a focus on resource-poor languages, and examining language bias in NLP systems. He earned his Ph.D. in computational linguistics at the University of Washington.
Jeremy Kahn is a software engineer in machine learning at Facebook and an affiliate professor in the Department of Linguistics. His specialties include natural language processing, statistical learning, linguistics, systems for evaluation, parsing, text processing, speech processing and algorithms. Kahn earned his Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Washington.
Will Lewis is a principal technical project manager on the machine translation team at Microsoft Research and an affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics. Prior to that, Lewis was a member of the linguistics faculty at California State University, Fresno, where he worked on defining an ontology of linguistics. His other research has focused on how a language chooses its basic vocabulary and on the creation of a function that describes this process. His interests also include corpus linguistics, especially Web as corpus; computational linguistics; adult language processing; morphosyntax; and typology. In 2004, Lewis was awarded the Data-Driven Linguistic Ontology Development grant through the National Science Foundation. The previous year, he received a research award for his work on linguistically oriented text mining and also earned a cognitive science program development grant, both through CSU, Fresno. Lewis has a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.
Michael Tjalve is a principal product manager for conversational AI at Microsoft. An affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics, he began teaching at the UW in 2009. His primary interests are in speech technology, with a focus on automatic speech recognition. He's fluent in six languages and has hands-on experience with a few more. His research focuses on accent variation modeling and cross-language speech processing. Tjalve has been working in the speech technology community since 1999; his work has focused on the innovation and enhancement of speech technology and speech applications, with an emphasis on bringing research into the hands of end users. He earned a Ph.D. in speech technology at University College London.