I am an Assistant Professor in the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I also serve as the Associate Director of the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR). My research focuses on designing and evaluating statistical and machine learning models with applications to (interactive) information access systems, including search engines, recommender systems, and question answering. I am currently focusing on Neural Information Retrieval, Conversational Search, and Retrieval-Enhanced Machine Learning.
Prior to UMass, I was a Researcher at Microsoft, working on a wide range of problems related to search engines. I received my Ph.D. in 2019 from UMass under the direction of W. Bruce Croft. I am the recipient of the UMass CICS Outstanding Dissertation Award for my Ph.D. thesis on weakly supervised neural information retrieval. I obtained my M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees from the University of Tehran.
Prospective PhD Students: I am always looking for highly motivated and talented students. If you’re interested in my research, please apply to our PhD program and list me as a potential advisor.
Prospective Postdocs: If you have a strong publication record in information retrieval and related fields and are interested in my research, please feel free to drop me an email.
Prospective Visiting Students and Scholars: If you are currently a PhD student, postdoctoral scholar, researcher, or faculty in information retrieval or related fields and are interested in visiting the Center for Intelligent for Information Retrieval (CIIR), please feel free to drop me an email.
News / Updates:
- Apr 2023: I received an Amazon Research Award for a research proposal on “Optimization of Retrieval-Enhanced Machine Learning Models”.
- Apr 2023: Six full papers accepted at SIGIR 2023! See publication page.
- Feb 2023: We will organize a workshop on Retrieval-Enhanced Machine Learning at SIGIR 2023.
- Feb 2023: My research group has been selected for the Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge for the second year in a row. Read more here.
- Jan 2023: We released the second draft of our Conversational Information Seeking monograph.
- Oct 2022: I delivered a keynote speech at the CIKM 2022 Workshop on Proactive and Agent-Supported Information Retrieval (PASIR). The slides are available here.
- Jul 2022: Congratulations to Hansi Zeng (first-year PhD student) for receiving the Best Short Paper Award at ACM SIGIR 2022.
- Jul 2022: I delivered a keynote speech at the SIGIR 2022 Workshop on Reaching Efficiency in Neural Information Retrieval (ReNeuIR).
- Jun 2022: Two papers accepted at ICTIR 2022! See publication page.
- Apr 2022: Congratulations to Julian Killingback (current MS student and soon-to-be PhD student) for winning the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP) award.
- Mar 2022: Three papers accepted at SIGIR 2022! See publication page.
- Mar 2022: I serve as a Guest Editor for ACM Transactions on the Web — Special Issue on Conversational Information Seeking. Click here to see the CFP.
- Feb 2022: I gave a keynote speech (“Recent Advancements and Current Challenges in Neural Information Retrieval”) at the WSDM 2022 Workshop on pre-trained Language Model for Information Retrieval.
- Feb 2022: I gave a keynote speech (“Joint Modeling of Search and Recommendation”) at the WSDM 2022 Workshop on Personalization and Recommendations in Search.
- Jan 2022: I serve as the Program Committee Co-Chair for ACM SIGIR 2022 – Short Paper Track.
- Nov 2021: We will organize a workshop on “Interactive and Scalable Information Retrieval Methods for E-Commerce” in conjunction with WSDM 2022.
- Aug 2021: Two full papers accepted at CIKM 2021. See publication page.
- May 2021: Our proposal has been selected for Alexa Prize 2021. Read more about our participation here.
- May 2021: 6 papers accepted at SIGIR 2021! See publication page.
- Oct 2020: Our MIMICS paper has received the Best Paper Award from CIKM 2020 – The Resource Paper Track.
- Sep 2020: Joining CIIR at UMass as an Assistant Professor.
- Apr 2020: 6 papers (3 full, 2 short, and 1 demo) accepted at SIGIR 2020! See publication page.
- Feb 2020: I gave a keynote on “Towards Mixed-Initiative Conversational Information Seeking” at the ConvERSe workshop @ WSDM 2020.
- Dec 2019: We have designed and implemented an open-source platform for conversational information seeking research, called Macaw. Macaw is open-sourced under the MIT License [paper] [GitHub Repo].