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.


Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting. Invited Plenary Session: Data Driven Everything.
March 2018    Video (talk)    Video (debate)

Cognitive Computational Neuroscience. Invited Tutorial: Artificial Intelligence
September 2017    Slides (pdf)    Video


Fall 2015
CSC 106: The Practice of Computer Science
Spring 2016
SENG 474/CSC 578: Data Mining Check out the projects from that class!
Fall 2016
SENG 474/CSC 578: Data Mining
Spring 2017
CSC 106: The Practice of Computer Science
Summer 2017
CSC 485E/SENG 480C/CSC 581A: Topics in Artificial Intelligence: "Natural Language Processing"
Spring 2018
SENG 474/CSC 578: Data Mining


See also my Google Scholar page.