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. I am also a Faculty Affiliate of Penn State's Institute for CyberScience and a member of the Social Data Analytics graduate faculty.

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 Penn State's University Park campus, you can stop by my office at E310 in the Westgate Building.

Students taking my classes may benefit from browsing my Guide for Interacting With Faculty before contacting me. It contains advice on getting the most benefit out of interacting with faculty.

Students interested in joining my lab: I often have openings for PhD students, MS students, and undergraduates to work on projects related to natural language processing or privacy. If you're interested in working with me, first consult my Guide for Joining My Lab and then email me with "read your recruiting note" as the subject line. Include a CV and an explanation of your specific interests in my research.

Curriculum Vitae

Here it is.

Latest News

I also sometimes post news and thoughts to Twitter.

2019-07-12: The College of IST's Instagram account posted a Faculty Friday interview with me. One tiny correction: I first tried laksa when I spent a summer in Singapore, not Malaysia.

2019-07-09: Our NSF SaTC Medium proposal "Automatically Answering People's Privacy Questions" was chosen for funding! I'll be working with Norman Sadeh at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science and Joel Reidenberg at Fordham University's School of Law to create question answering systems for online privacy.

2019-06-02: I wrote a Guide for Scholarly Writing, aimed at students preparing manuscripts to submit to publication venues.

2019-05-21: I recently spoke at the graduation ceremony for the Philosophy Department at Virginia Tech. I added a video of my speech to the miscellany page.

2019-04-27: I added a Teaching FAQ to my website with information for students enrolled in my classes, especially first-year college students and international students.

2019-04-18: I speak first and last (and in the middle) of this video promoting artificial intelligence research at Penn State. Thanks to PSU's CommAgency students for putting this together.

2019-04-05: I received a seed grant from Penn State's Center for Security Research and Education for a proposal titled "Automatic Detection of Malicious Emails Using Discourse Analysis", with Susan Strauss as a co-PI.

2019-04-02: Welcome to Carly Chiavaroli, who is joining my lab in a research support position.

2019-03-29: Thanks to everyone who attended PAL! If you didn't make it, you can still view the proceedings on our website.

2019-03-22: I received a seed grant from the College of IST for my proposal titled "Web-Scale Search and Analysis of Privacy Policies", with Lee Giles as a co-PI. The grant will fund a co-supervised graduate research assistant for one year.

2019-03-21: Our paper "Vaccine: Obfuscating Access Pattern Against File-Injection Attacks" has been accepted to IEEE CNS.

2019-03-17: I've created an Advising FAQ with information for PhD students, MS students, undergraduates, and visitors who are interested in joining my lab.

2019-02-23: This May I will be the invited speaker for the graduation ceremony of the Philosophy Department at Virginia Tech, my alma mater. Philosophy was one of my majors as an undergraduate, and I am honored they selected me.

2019-01-11: Our paper "Analyzing privacy policies at scale: From crowdsourcing to automated annotations" has been published in ACM Transactions on the Web. Here's a copy.

2018-12-05: Thanks to Jamie Blustein and Computer Science at Dalhousie University for hosting me for a talk today.

2018-11-29: I am pleased to congratulate (belatedly) my Spring 2018 M.S. graduates on their new jobs: Abhijith Athreya is now a Chief Engineer at Samsung R&D, and Baradwaj Aryasomayajula is a Software Developer at Verizon.

For older news, check the archive.