I am an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the departments of Computing Science and Psychology at the University of Alberta. I hold a CIFAR Canadian AI Chair (2018-2023). Prior to this, I was faculty at the University of Victoria.
My interests are Computational Linguistics, Machine Learning and Neuroscience. My work combines all three of these areas to study the way the human brain processes language.
Models of language meaning (semantics) are typically built using large bodies of text (corpora) collected from the Internet. These corpora often contain billions of words, and thus cover the majority of the ways words are used. However, to build computer programs that truly understand language, and can understand more rare and nuanced word usage, we need algorithms that can generalize beyond common word usage. By collecting brain images of people reading, we can explore how the human brain handles the complexities of language, which could inspire the next generation of semantic models.Here's my CV.
Interested in working with me? Here is what to include when contacting me.
Before joining the University of Alberta, I received a BSc and MSc in Computing Science from the University of Alberta, and worked at Google as a Software Engineer. I completed my PhD at Carnegie Mellon University, where I was advised by Dr. Tom Mitchell. My PhD Thesis is available here.
I also have a blog, with my pal Nicole Rafidi. We talk about machine learning, neuroscience, and academia.
My name is sometimes a source of confusion. My first name (Alona) rhymes with sauna and iguana. My last name (Fyshe) looks complicated, but is just pronounced fish.
CSC 106: The Practice of Computer Science
SENG 474/CSC 578: Data Mining Check out the projects from that class!
SENG 474/CSC 578: Data Mining
CSC 106: The Practice of Computer Science
CSC 485E/SENG 480C/CSC 581A: Topics in Artificial Intelligence: "Natural Language Processing"
SENG 474/CSC 578: Data Mining
See also my Google Scholar page.
- Dhanush Dharmaretnam, Alona Fyshe. The Emergence of Semantics in Neural Network Representations of Visual Information. The North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL HLT 2018) - New Orleans, Louisiana, 2018 pdf , Supplementary material
- Sophia Chan, Alona Fyshe. Social and Emotional Correlates of Capitalization on Twitter. PEOPLES Workshop at the Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL HLT 2018) - New Orleans, Louisiana, 2018 pdf
- Brian Murphy, Leila Wehbe, Alona Fyshe. Decoding Language from the Brain. Language, Cognition, and Computational Models, Cambridge University Press. 2018 link
- Sophia Chan, Maryam Honari Jahromi, Benjamin Benetti, Aazim Lakhani, Alona Fyshe. Ensemble Methods for Native Language Identification. Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications, NLI Shared Task (Tied for 2nd place), Empirical Methods for Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), 2017 pdf
- Alona Fyshe, Gustavo Sudre, Leila Wehbe, Nicole Rafidi and Tom M Mitchell. The Semantics of Adjective Noun Phrases in the Human Brain. Under Review preprint
- Cole Peterson, Alona Fyshe. Poet Admits // Mute Cypher: Beam Search to find Mutually Enciphering Poetic Texts. Empirical Methods for Natural Language Processing, Austin, TX. 2016 pdf Website
- Haoyan Xu, Brian Murphy, Alona Fyshe. BrainBench: A Brain-Image Test Suite for Distributional Semantic Models. Empirical Methods for Natural Language Processing, Austin, TX. 2016 pdf
- Leila Wehbe, Alona Fyshe, Tom Mitchell. Language processing in the brain: Mapping neural activity to language meaning. Human Language: from Genes and Brains to Behavior, MIT Press (to appear)
- Alona Fyshe, Leila Wehbe, Partha Talukdar, Brian Murphy, and Tom Mitchell. A Compositional and Interpretable Semantic Space. The 2015 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL HLT 2015), Denver, CO. 2015. pdf Supplementary Material
- Leila Wehbe , Brian Murphy, Partha Talukdar, Alona Fyshe, Aaditya Ramdas, Tom Mitchell. Simultaneously uncovering the patterns of brain regions involved in different story reading subprocesses PLoS ONE, 9(11): e112575 Journal Website Supplementary Material
- Evangelos E. Papalexakis, Alona Fyshe, Nicholas Sidiropoulos, Partha Pratim Talukdar, Tom Mitchell, Christos Faloutsos. Good-Enough Brain Model: Challenges, Algorithms and Discoveries in Multi-Subject Experiments. ACM SIGKDD, New York City, USA. 2014 pdf
- Alona Fyshe, Partha Pratim Talukdar, Brian Murphy and Tom M Mitchell. Interpretable Semantic Vectors from a Joint Model of Brain- and Text- Based Meaning. The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Baltimore, Maryland. 2014. pdf Supplementary Material
- Michelle Shu and Alona Fyshe. Sparse Autoencoders for Word Decoding from Magnetoencephalography. 3rd NIPS Workshop on Machine Learning and Interpretation in NeuroImaging (MLINI), 2013. pdf
- John J Grefenstette, Shawn T Brown, Roni Rosenfeld, Jay DePasse, Nathan TB Stone, Phillip C Cooley, William D Wheaton, Alona Fyshe, David D Galloway, Anuroop Sriram, Hasan Guclu, Thomas Abraham and Donald S Burke. FRED (a Framework for Reconstructing Epidemic Dynamics): an open-source software system for modeling infectious diseases and control strategies using census-based populations. BMC public health. 2013;13(1):940 pdf
- Alona Fyshe, Partha Talukdar, Brian Murphy and Tom Mitchell. Documents and Dependencies: an Exploration of Vector Space Models for Semantic Composition. International Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL 2013), Sofia, Bulgaria., 2013. pdf Supplementary Material (25% acceptance rate)
- Alona Fyshe, Gustavo Sudre, Leila Wehbe, Brian Murphy and Tom Mitchell. Decoding Word Semantics from Magnetoencephalography Time Series Transformations. 2nd NIPS Workshop on Machine Learning and Interpretation in NeuroImaging (MLINI), 2012. pdf
- Gustavo Sudre, Dean Pomerleau, Mark Palatucci, Leila Wehbe, Alona Fyshe, Riitta Salmelin, Tom Mitchell. Tracking Neural Coding Of Perceptual And Semantic Features Of Concrete Nouns. Neuroimage 62(1) 451-463, 2012. Link
- Alona Fyshe, Emily Fox, David Dunson and Tom Mitchell. Hierarchical Latent Dictionaries for Models of Brain Activation. Fifteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, 2012 pdf Supplementary Material (6% acceptance rate for oral presentation)
- Alona Fyshe, Yifeng Liu, Duane Szafron, Russ Greiner, and Paul Lu. Improving Subcellular Localization Prediction using Text Classification and the Gene Ontology. Bioinformatics, 24(21):2512-2517 2008 pdf
- Alona Fyshe and Duane Szafron. Term Generalization and Synonym Resolution for Biological Abstracts: Using the Gene Ontology for Subcellular Localization Prediction. BioNLP Workshop (HLT-NAACL), 2006 pdf (38% acceptance rate)
- Brett Poulin, Roman Eisner, Duane Szafron, Paul Lu, Russ Greiner, D.S. Wishart, Alona Fyshe, Brandon Pearcy, Cam MacDonell and John Anvik. Visual Explanation of Evidence in Additive Classifiers. Eighteenth Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI), July 2006 pdf
- Paul Lu, Duane Szafron, Russell Greiner, David S. Wishart, Alona Fyshe, Brandon Pearcy, Brett Poulin, Roman Eisner, Danny Ngo and Nicholas Lamb. PA-GOSUB: a searchable database of model organism protein sequences with their predicted Gene Ontology molecular function and subcellular localization. Nucleic Acids Research, 33:D147-D153, 2005 pdf
- Duane Szafron, Paul Lu, Russell Greiner, David S. Wishart, Brett Poulin, Roman Eisner, Zhiyong Lu, John Anvik, Cam Macdonell, Alona Fyshe, and David Meeuwis. Proteome Analyst: Custom Predictions with Explanations in a Web-based Tool for High-throughput Proteome Annotations. Nucleic Acids Research, 32:W365-W371 2005 pdf
- Nicholas Lamb, Paul Lu, and Alona Fyshe. Trellis Driver: Distributing a Java Workflow Across a Network of Workstations. International Workshop on High Performance Scientific and Engineering Computing (HPSEC), 2004 pdf