About Me

Who I Am

I am an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State, where I lead the Human Language Technologies Lab.

My research spans natural language processing, privacy, and artificial intelligence. I participate in the Usable Privacy Policy Project. You can read more about my research interests.

From 2016 until 2018 I was an Assistant Professor in the EECS Department at the University of Cincinnati. Prior to that I was a postdoc and a lecturer in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science and an NSF International Research Fellow in the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics. I received my PhD in Computer Science from the University of Maryland in 2011.

Contacting Me

You can reach me at shomir _at_ psu.edu. If you are on PSU's University Park campus, you can stop by my office at E310 in the Westgate Building.

Prospective Students: I have openings for Ph.D. students, M.S. students, and undergraduates to work on projects related to natural language processing or privacy. I'm looking for students who have coursework in machine learning, NLP, or artificial intelligence, and I place a high value on good writing skills and attentiveness to detail. If you're interested in working with me, read some of my recent publications and email me with "read your recruiting note" as the subject line. Include a CV and an explanation of your specific interests in my research.

I do not have short-term (e.g., single semester or summer length) research positions ("internships") for students who are visiting from other universities. I receive many inquiries about this and I may not be able to respond to all of them.

Curriculum Vitae

Here it is.

Latest News

2018-08-30: Our paper "Supervised and Unsupervised Methods for Robust Separation of Section Titles and Prose Text in Web Documents" has been accepted for presentation at EMNLP in November. Here's the paper. The code and the datasets are on GitHub.

2018-08-10: I am organizing a AAAI Spring Symposium titled "Privacy-Enhancing Artificial Intelligence and Language Technologies" (PAL) at Stanford University on March 25-27, 2019. Consider submitting a paper, or help me promote it with this flyer.

2018-07-26: Congrats to my students Abhijith Mysore and Baradwaj Aryasomayajula on successfully defending their M.S. theses!

2018-07-19: Last week I led a workshop on natural language processing for 20 visiting faculty from Ming Chi University of Taiwan, as part of their visit to the University of Cincinnati. Best wishes for the rest of their stay.

2018-05-07: I was a faculty marshal for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UC's Spring Commencement. Congratulations again to all of our graduates!

2018-03-23: The Usable Privacy Policy Project created a series of videos to explain our research. I speak first in this one, about the natural language processing aspects of the project.

2018-03-01: Our work is featured in NSF News from the Field. See the bottom of the press release (linked from the NSF article) for the full list of collaborators.

2018-02-17: I am proposing a workshop titled "AI and NLP for Usable Privacy" at SOUPS this coming August. The workshop will be a successor event to Privacy and Language Technologies, the AAAI Fall Symposium I organized in 2016. Contact me if you have nominations (including self-nominations) for the program committee.

2018-02-12: Congrats to my M.S. student Kaitlin Burnam on winning the graduate student poster award at the Tri-State Women in Computing Conference this past weekend!

2018-02-02: During the week of March 12, I will teach a mini-course titled "Ethics of Artificial Intelligence" at Future University in Cairo, Egypt.

2018-01-25: Check out our re-launch of the Explore site, now featuring over 7,000 automatically annotated privacy policies.

2017-11-14: Cincinnati's Channel 9 News interviewed me today about FaceID in the iPhone X. (Skip to 1:00 in the video for the correct story.) A few claims in the segment that aired were misattributed to me, although I was still glad to speak with them. Also, although they cited me as a face recognition expert, this is incorrect; I spoke as a privacy researcher.

For older news, check the archive.