Asli Celikyilmaz

Asli Celikyilmaz

Principal Researcher
Microsoft Research



Research Interests:

My primary research interests are in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, with broader interests in Human Computer Interaction. The challenging research area of statistical natural language generation (NLG) has several important applications, e.g., text summarization to compress large amounts of information into a coherent summary to help users consume information easily, or video captioning to describe a stream of visual information for disability assistance, or maintain an dialogue with robots in natural language to help them navigate or complete a task in visually grounded environments, and creative story generation to train agents to write coherent long text, to name a few. My research goal is to expand neural network models to develop human-like NLG that possess generalizable knowledge and semantic skills, are engaging, and creative, and perform visual and action-based multimodal grounding. More specifically, my research interests include:
  • Language Generation, Dynamic Memory Representation, Evaluation, Factualness, etc.: Modeling the long-term context (e.g., modeling of langugue context, pysical environments, etc.); tracking and simulating the world representend in a story or a narrative; learning to write coherently; predicting mental states in narrative by controlling and grounding text generation. Evaluation and factual consisteny is important in building accurate text generation systems. My researach investigates evaluation methods that help in building better long text generation models.
  • Language Grounding in Physical World: Learning semantic correspondences between language help users in their daily activities by learning from their environments; language understanding for generating coherent and human like responses.

Selected Invited Talks and Tutorials:

Full List of Publications:

Recent Preprints:

Peer-Reviewed Publications:



Asli Celikyilmaz is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research (MSR) in Redmond, Washington. She is also an Affiliate Associate Faculty at the University of Washington. She has received Ph.D. Degree in Information Science from University of Toronto, Canada, and later continued her Postdoc study at Computer Science Department of the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests are mainly in deep learning and natural language, specifically on language generation with long-term coherence, language understanding, language grounding with vision, and building intelligent agents for human-computer interaction She is serving on the editorial boards of Transactions of the ACL (TACL) as area editor and Open Journal of Signal Processing (OJSP) as Associate Editor. She has received several “best of” awards including NAFIPS 2007, Semantic Computing 2009, and CVPR 2019.

Work Experience:

    2010-Present Principal Researcher, Microsoft Resarch, Redmond, WA
    2018-Present Affiliate Associate Faculty at the Paul G. Allen School University of Washington, Seattle, WA
    2008-2010 Post-Doctorate Research, Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA
    2005-2008 Doctor of Philosopy, Engineering, University of Toronto
    2004-2006 Research Software Engineer, Information Intelligence Co. (IIC), University of Toronto
    2003-2005 Master of applied Science, Engineering, University of Toronto
    2000-2002 Computer Programming and Analysis, Information Science, Seneca College, Toronto
    1993-1997 Bachelor of Applied Science, Engineering, Istanbul Technical University


    2017 Lecture on Generative Adversarial Networks at the AI School at MSR AI
    2017 Lecture on Deep Learning for Interactive Systems at the AI School at MSR AI
    2007 Lecture on Knowledge Modeling and Management, Univ. of Toronto
    2006 Lecture on Data Modeling, University of Toronto
    2005 Lecture on Decision Analysis, University of Toronto

Honors and Awards:

    Best Student Paper Award, CVPR 2019
    Best Paper Award, IEEE Int. Conference on Semantic Computing, Berkeley, 2009
    Postdoctoral Fellowship from British Telecom University of California, Berkeley, 2008-2010
    NSERC (Natural Sci. and Eng. Research Council of Canada), Postdoc Fellowship (PDF), 2008-2010
    NSERC (Natural Sci. and Eng. Research Council, Graduate Scholarships), PGSD2, 2007-2009
    OGS-Ontario Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology, Ph.D., 2007-2008
    Ph.D. Fellowship, University of Toronto, 2005-2008
    Student Travel Grant from IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, 2007
    Best Paper Award, North American Fuzzy Information Processing Society, 2007
    Ontario, Canada Graduate Scholarship in Science and Tech. (OGS-ST), 2006-2007
    Research Assistantship Support, University of Toronto, 2005-2006
    Master of Science Fellowship, University of Toronto, 2004-2005
    Research Assistantship Support, University of Toronto, 2004-2005
    Full Grant for Undergraduate Study, ISTEK Foundation (Turkey), 1993-1997