Nick Green defends his PhD thesis (March 2, 2017)

Nick Green successfully defended his PhD thesis, titled: "Example Based Pedagogical Strategies in a Computer Science Intelligent Tutoring System"

His committee included: Barbara Di Eugenio (advisor), Tom Moher (CS, UIC), Ugo Buy (CS, UIC), Davide Fossati (CS, UIC), Patrick Seeling (CS, Central Michigan University)

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2017 18:18
Rachel Harsley defends her PhD (March 1, 2017)

Rachel Harsley successfully defended her PhD thesis, titled: "Supporting Effective Collaborative Learning in A Computer Science Intelligent Tutoring System"

Her committee included: Barbara Di Eugenio (advisor), Tom Moher (CS, UIC), Susan Goldman (LAS, Psychology and Education, UIC), Cynthia Taylor (CS, UIC), Davide Fossati (CS, UIC), Tiffany Barnes (CS, UIC)



Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2017 18:26
Sabita Acharya Receives "50 for the Future" Award from the Illinois Technology Foundation

Sabita Acharya received the prestigious "50 for the Future" award from the Illinois Technology Foundation.

The annual event, Fifty for the Future®, continues to build awareness of the talent of tomorrow for the Illinois technology ecosystem. The program, currently in its 10th year, recognizes the best and brightest technology students in the state. (

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2017 17:26
Rachel Harsley is honored by NSBE with a Golden Torch award & wins an ACM-W fellowship

Rachel Harsley, Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science, was selected as the Golden Torch Award recipient for Graduate Student of the Year by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). NSBE is one of the largest student-run organizations in the United States with more than 30,000 members world-wide. The award is based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and personal accomplishments and demonstrated leadership in engineering or other technical fields. Each year, through the Golden Torch Awards, NSBE honors individuals, companies, and institutions that have produced a consistent body of highly distinguished work, served as role models for others, and advanced opportunities for African Americans within their industry. The awards ceremony will take place this Spring in Kansas City, MO at the NSBE National Convention.

Additionally, Rachel was awarded an ACM-W fellowship to attend the ACM SIGCSE 2017 conference in Seattle, WA (March 2017). There, Rachel will present the paper "Interactions of Individual and Pair Programmers with an Intelligent Tutoring System for Computer Science" (Rachel Harsley, Davide Fossati, Barbara Di Eugenio and Nick Green).

NLP Lab Receives the Best Paper Award at ICEduTech

The NLP lab recently received the best paper award at the IADIS International Conference on Educational Technologies (ICEduTech) 2015 in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The paper, "Student Behavior with Worked-out Examples in a Computer Science Intelligent Tutoring System", is part of ongoing research with the ChiQat-Tutor intelligent tutoring system. The authors are, Nick Green, Davide Fossati, Barbara Di Eugenio, Rachel Harsley, Omar AlZoubi, and Mehrdad Alizadeh.

Nick Green Receives the "50 for the Future" Award from the Illinois Technology Foundation

Nick Green (second from right), Computer Science PhD student, received the prestigious "50 for the Future" award from the Illinois Technology Foundation. This award is designed to recognize and honor the most promising technology students in Illinois.

The ITF Fifty for the Future® mobilizes academia and industry to support students across Illinois universities who aspire to greatness in the field of technology. In its 8th year, this event will honor Illinois students who have proven determination and foresight through their education and deeds in the application and development of technology. (

Lin Chen defends his PhD thesis (May 29, 2014)

Lin Chen successfully defended his PhD thesis, titled: "Towards Modeling Collaborative Task Oriented Multimodal Human-human Dialogues"

His committee included: Barbara Di Eugenio (advisor), Milos Zefran (ECE, UIC), Jason Leigh (UHawai'i Manoa), Piotr Gmytrasiewicz (UIC CS), Joyce Y. Chai (CSE Michigan State University)


Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 14:06
NLP lab lunch (May 7th, 2014)

We had fun celebrating the end of the AY 13-14 and  some nice accomplishments of the past year:

  • three PhD students taking their WCPs (Written Preliminary Exams): Green, Harsley and Randolph
  • three students graduating with their MS: Balasubramanyan, Miryani,  and Venkatarami
  • Prof. Di Eugenio being promoted to full professor


Lab Lunch

Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 14:07
Dr. Barbara Di Eugenio was chosen as the recipient of American Women in Science (AWIS) Chicago's 7th Annual Innovator award (2013)

Dr. Barbara Di Eugenio was chosen as the recipient of American Women in Science (AWIS) Chicago's 7th Annual Innovator award, "for demonstrating innovative approaches in computational models of Natural Language Processing. Her work is applied to various interactive applications in education technology and human-robot interactions, where users can hold a natural conversation with a computer."

Dr. Di Eugenio was honored at the AWIS annual dinner on June 26th, 2013


Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 18:08
Prof. Barbara Di Eugenio receives funding from the Qatar Research Foundation

Professor Barbara Di Eugenio received a new award from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). She is the sole UIC PI, and overall co-PI on a joint project in the total amount of $1,038,000, to conduct research on "Intelligent Learning Environments for Computer Science Undergraduate Education" (see abstract below). The PI is Davide Fossati, a former member of the NLP lab, who is now a faculty member at Carnegie-Mellon University-Qatar. The UIC portion is $346,854.

Abstract: "The goal of this proposal is to support Computer Science (CS) education at the undergraduate level. The Qatar National Vision 2030 emphasizes excellence in education to foster the development of a knowledge-based society. However, current Computer Science degree programs in Qatar suffer from very low enrollment and high attrition rates, mostly due to low achievement of students in their freshman and sophomore years. Our goal is to support students in learning concepts and skills that are known to be "stumbling blocks" to achievement and retention in CS, such as linked lists and recursion. Towards this end, we propose to develop and rigorously evaluate Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) that can support student achievement in CS core courses. We will (a) systematically embody effective modes of instruction, such as demonstration via worked-out examples, within a novel ITS, ChiQat-Tutor; (b) integrate ChiQat-Tutor into the undergraduate CS curricula of universities in Qatar and the United States; and (c) conduct systematic evaluations of the learning environment as ChiQat-Tutor is used in actual CS courses.

QNRF was established in 2006 as part of the Qatar Research Foundation ongoing commitment to establish Qatar as a knowledge-based economy. QNRF aims to foster original, competitively selected research in engineering and technology, physical and life sciences, medicine, humanities, social sciences and the arts. In addition to funding, QNRF aims to encourage dialogue and partnerships. This award falls under their National Priorities Research Program.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 16:06
Joel Booth PhD Thesis Defense

Joel Booth defended his dissertation on Monday, October 18, 2011.  His talk was titled Modeling and Querying Multimodal Urban Transportation Networks.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 19:48
NLP lab receives support from Yahoo! to mine microblogs

Prof. Di Eugenio has received a $10000 Yahoo! Faculty Research and Engagement award to support the project "Mining life-stage events and user personas in microblogs”.  The project focuses on:

1. Capturing life-stage events.  We want to be able to answer questions such as "Is this user engaged / married/single?" (relationship status);  "Is this user socially active in the real world (frequent bars, sporting activities etc.)?"; etc.  Neither  data mining and NLP state-of-the-art techniques  are sufficient, since e.g. Twitter messages are highly ambiguous wrt these events and who is the actor of those events (as in the following two public tweets "ackorie Sequari Andrews 4 the record people I am not nor am I anywhere near engaged!!"
Vs " Aftenthurston Aften Thurston Still cannot believe I am engaged!!")

2. Studying the relationship (if any) between user's lifestage events and/or personas  and online behavior (webpage view activity, search activity). In the process, we will also build predictive models to identify other such users based on behavioral data alone. Specifically, we will use the mined set of users as our labels to train a classifier to identify other similar users (look-a-like modeling).

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 June 2011 19:11
3 Ph.D. Students Graduate from the NLP Lab

Davide Fossati, Cindy Kersey, and Swati Tata graduated from the NLP lab.

Here is a photo from Commencement 2010.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 19:48
Lin Chen Won Outstanding TA Award from CS Department

Lin Chen won Outstanding TA award for 2009-2010 academic year from Computer Science department of UIC.

Here is the photo.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 19:49
Swati Tata Defends Her Thesis

Date and time: 19th April 2010, 1:00 PM
Location: 219 SEO
Committee: Prof. Barbara Di Eugenio, Prof. Peter Nelson, Prof. Bing Liu,
Dr. Susan McRoy (University Of Wisconsin, Madison), Dr. Swee Mok (Motorola
Research Lab, Schaumburg, IL)


With the drastic increase in the personal music collections of individuals and the increased availability of data on the internet, recommendation systems are becoming increasingly popular. Many users decide whether or not to try a product by looking at reviews. However, there are far too many reviews for each product and it is a tedious task to read all of them. The main focus of this research is to produce a coherent and grammatical summary of reviews of individual songs. As reviews of songs are rarely available, this information has to be extracted from album reviews, which encompass several songs from the same album.

A music recommendation system has been developed. A formative study was carried out to determine that users are interested to read reviews in the recommendation system. An automatic summarization framework was proposed and developed, that combines extraction of information about songs from album reviews and generation techniques to produce summaries of reviews of individual songs. Fine-grained song feature summaries were incorporated into a music recommendation system, SongRecommend. Evaluation of SongRecommend with 39 users showed that users were able to make quicker decisions when presented with the summary as compared to the full album review; additionally, their decisions appeared to be more informed as their choices of recommendations to follow were more varied than in the control condition.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:07
Professor Barbara Di Eugenio Receives Funding from NSF for Using Robots to Serve the Elderly at Home

Barbara Di Eugenio is co-PI on a new NSF award (PI: Milos Zefran, co-PI: Jezekiel Ben-Arie) that aims at developing assistive robots for the elderly. The team will focus on the technological challenge of creating an effective interface that can seamlessly integrate speech, gestures and haptic signals (force exchange). These different modalities co-constrain the interpretation of what the user is communicating to the robot. This project aims at robots that can assist elderly people in performing mundane, daily activities, from the more basic (getting out of bed), to the more complex (cooking). Such robots would help the elderly stay in their homes longer, with great benefits to the elderly people themselves, their caregivers, and society at large. This award is a collaboration between ECE and CS at UIC, and Mark Foreman, a UIC professor emeritus who is now with the Department of Gerontological Nursing at Rush University.

The UIC Press Release can be found here.

The Chicago Tribune news can be found here

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:10
Davide Fossati receives the "50 for the Future" award from the Illinois Technology Foundation

Davide Fossati, Computer Science PhD student, received the prestigious "50 for the Future" award from the Illinois Technology Foundation. This award is designed to recognize and honor the most promising technology students in Illinois.

Davide is currently working in the Natural Language Processing Lab, directed by professor Barbara Di Eugenio. His research focuses on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, which are computer systems that can interact with students and help them learn. His latest project, iList, is a system that helps college students practice and learn linked lists, a fundamental topic in Computer Science curricula. The system has been already used in several classrooms at UIC and the US Naval Academy.

The Illinois Technology Foundation’s mission is to support the development of a technology talent pipeline that begins in elementary school, is refined in high school, and is fully developed in our region’s higher education graduates. The Foundation facilitates relationships and efforts across industry, academia, students, and government, developing and managing targeted programs within the talent pipeline. Through action, leadership, and collaboration, the Foundation supports and nurtures the technology talent to ensure a viable and a regional wealth creating economy. The Foundation is the philanthropy arm of the Illinois Technology Association (ITA), a membership organization of more than 500 Illinois technology companies who support the development of a stronger technology talent pipeline in the region.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:14
Professor Barbara Di Eugenio receives funding from Motorola to develop intelligent summarizer

The NLP laboratory(Dr. Barbara Di Eugenio, director) has obtained new funding from the "Motorola University Partnership in Research" program for "Intelligent Aggregation for Mobile Search." The project focuses on developing resources and algorithms to perform aggregation, i.e., summarization of long lists of concepts. The problem is important for effective mobile search, since long lists can overwhelm small displays, are difficult to remember when spoken, and are difficult to navigate on a small device. The problem is challenging, since it touches on unsolved research issues. First, we will need to develop new algorithms to generate meaningful groupings of the items that appear on long lists; in many cases, such as aggregating email messages, the possible dimensions are too numerous to define a priori and must be dynamically determined. Second, mobile search cannot be conceived of as a sequence of isolated queries: a user will follow up to an answer from the mobile search engine with further requests. Hence, the system must be able to address new requests from the user that will refer to the entities dynamically created by the system.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:20
Expert Tutoring and Natural Language Feedback in Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Xin Lu will be defending her thesis this thursday. Details about her defense are outlined below:

Location: SEO 1000
Time: 2:00 pm, Thursday, June 21, 2007.
Speaker: Xin Lu
Advisor: Barbara Di Eugenio
Committee: Barbara Di Eugenio, Bing Liu, Tom Moher, Stellan Ohlsson, Martha
Evens (IIT)


Intelligent tutoring systems can provide benefits of one-on-one instruction automatically and cost effectively. To make the intelligent tutoring systems as effective as expert human tutors, this research aims at investigating what type of natural language feedback an intelligent tutoring system should provide and how to implement the feedback generation to engender significantly more learning than unsupervised practice. This research demonstrates the utility of a computational model of expert tutoring in generating effective natural language feedback in intelligent tutoring systems.

This presentation will start from a comprehensive study of the difference between one expert tutor and two non-expert tutors in effectiveness, behavior and language. Then it will present a rule-based model of expert tutoring which takes advantage of a machine learning technique, Classification based on Associations. The tutorial rules are automatically learned from a set of annotated tutorial dialogues, to model how the expert tutor makes decisions on tutors attitude, domain concepts and problem
scopes to focus on, and tutor moves. This presentation will also describe a framework of feedback generation with 3-tier probabilistic planning to employ the model of expert tutoring in the natural language feedback generation for intelligent tutoring systems. The 3-tier planning automatically generates, selects and monitors plans for generating
effective tutorial feedback based on the rule-based model and the information state which keeps track of the interaction in the intelligent tutoring system. At last, an evaluation of the framework will be discussed.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:17
Davide Fossati receives award for Volunteer Service

The Chancellor's Student Service Award Committee presents its awards for volunteer service on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 in the Illinois Room of UIC Student Center East. The reception will begin at 5:00 p.m. and the program will follow at 6:00 p.m.

Davide Fossati is among the few gradute and undergraduate students who have been recognized by the College of Engineering for their commitment to volunteer Service. Davide is actively involved with various volunteer organizations in the University. He was recognized for his contribution as a member of the Engineering without Borders volunteer organization.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:15