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. My research centers on building natural language agents enriched with advanced capabilities to memorize, learn and reason about knowledge. Specifically, my research interests can be grouped into:
  • Neural Language Generation: 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; teaching agents to learn to write coherently; predicting mental states in narrative by stateful langauge modeling.
  • Evaluation of Text Generation: Factual consistency and semantic coherence are two of the several important aspects in building accurate text generation systems. My researach investigates evaluation methods that improve long text generation models.
  • Language Grounding and Conversational AI: Learning semantic correspondences between language help users in their daily activities by learning from their environments; enriching agents with coherent conversational copabilities by teaching language understanding and response generation.

Selected Invited Talks and Tutorials:

Full List of Publications:

Recent Preprints:

Peer-Reviewed Publications:


Summer 2020 Saadia Gabriel Meta-Evaluation of Text Generation
Summer 2020 Tom McCoy Novelty in Langauge Modeling
Summer 2020 Yichen Jiang Approximately-Symbolic Rule-Based Processing with Transformers
Summer 2020 Shiyue Zhang Thread Summarization with Memory State Update Machines
Summer-Fall 2019 Hannah Rashkin Long Text (Story, Article) Generation
Summer 2019 Ramakanth Pasunuru Query Focused Multi-Doc. Summarization
Summer 2019 Angela Lin Multi-modal Alignment
Summer 2019 Prasoon Goyal Generation of multimodal recipes
Summer 2019 Roshan Rao Pre-training w/ multi-modal data
Summer 2019 Keping Bi IE Losses for Extractive Summarization
Summer 2018 Xin (Eric) Wang Visual and Language Navigation
Summer 2018 Elizabeth Clark Evaluation Metrics for Text Generation
Summer 2018 Dinghan Shen Latent Variable models
Summer 2018 Amr Sharaf Multi-Teacher Imitation Learning
Summer 2017 Zhe Gan Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning
Summer 2017-2018 Antoine Bosselut Reward-Based Long form Text Generation
Summer 2017 Baolin Peng Dialog Policy Learning for Composite Tasks
Summer 2016 Joo_Kyung Kim Semantically Enriched Word Embeddings
Summer 2013 Yangfeng Ji Latent Variable Models
Summer 2013 Young-Bum Kim Conversational Dialog
Summer 2012 Aditya Bhargava Conversational Dialog
Summer 2011 Svitlana Volkova Sentiment Analysis


Asli Celikyilmaz is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research (MSR) in Redmond, Washington. She is also an Affiliate Associate Member 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 Member 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