driving a boat in the red sea

Waleed Ammar


Carnegie Mellon University
School of Computer Science
Language Technologies Institute

5713 Gates-Hillman Complex
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I'm a research assistant and Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University. My broad research interest is in machine learning and natural language processing, with an emphasis on semi-supervised learning and statistical machine translation. My PhD advisors are Noah Smith and Chris Dyer.

Before coming to CMU, I used to work for Microsoft Research (Redmond and Cairo labs) on various problems in natural language processing, information retrieval and data mining. I received my Bachelor degree in Computer Systems and Engineering at Alexandria University in 2007.

What's up

Recent Projects


(google scholar profile)

Model Selection for Type-Supervised Learning with Application to POS Tagging
Kristina Toutanova, Waleed Ammar, Pallavi Choudhury, Hoifung Poon. CoNLL 2015.

Unsupervised POS Induction with Word Embeddings
Chu-Cheng Lin, Waleed Ammar, Lori Levin, Chris Dyer. NAACL 2015.

Constraint-Based Models of Lexical Borrowing
Yulia Tsvetkov, Waleed Ammar, Chris Dyer. NAACL 2015.

Conditional Random Field Autoencoders for Unsupervised Structured Prediction [pdf, talk]
Waleed Ammar, Chris Dyer, Noah Smith. NIPS 2014.

The CMU Submission for the Shared Task on Language Identification in Code Switched Data [pdf]
Chu-Cheng Lin, Waleed Ammar, Chris Dyer and Lori Levin. Code Switching Workshop at EMNLP 2014

The CMU Machine Translation Systems at WMT 2014
Austin Matthews, Waleed Ammar, Archna Batia, Weston Feely, Greg Hanneman, Eva Schlinger, Swabha Swayampidta, Yulia Tsvetkov, Alon Lavie, Chris Dyer. WMT workshop at ACL 2014.

The CMU Machine Translation Systems at WMT 2013: Syntax, Synthetic Translation Options, and Pseudo-References[pdf]
Waleed Ammar, Victor Chahuneau, Michael Denkowski, Greg Hanneman, Wang Ling, Austin Matthews, Kenton Murray, Nicola Segall, Yulia Tsvetkov, Alon Lavie, Chris Dyer. WMT workshop at ACL 2013.

Automatic Categorization of Privacy Policies [pdf]
Waleed Ammar, Shomir Wilson, Norman Sadeh, Noah Smith. Tech Report 2012.

Transliteration by Sequence Labeling with Lattice Encoding and Reranking [pdf]
Waleed Ammar, Chris Dyer, Noah Smith. NEWS workshop at ACL 2012.

Syntax-based Augmentation of Statistical Machine Translation Phrase Tables
Achraf Chalabi, Waleed Ammar, Mostafa Ashour. US Patent, Publication No. US 2012/0296633.

Improved Transliteration Mining Using Graph Reinforcement [pdf]
Ali El Kahki, Kareem Darwish, Ahmed Saad El Din, Mohamed Abd El-Wahab, Ahmed Hefny and Waleed Ammar. EMNLP 2011.

ICE-TEA: In-Context Expansion and Translation of English Abbreviations [pdf]
Waleed Ammar, Kareem Darwish, Ali ElKahki and Khaled Hafez. CICLING 2011.

User evaluation in a collaborative online forum
Nayer Wanas, Heba Ashour, Moustafa El-Baradei, Ahmed Morsy, Motaz El Saban and Waleed Ammar. US patent, Publication No. US 2010/0162135 A1.

Secure localization in wireless sensor networks: a survey [pdf]
Waleed Ammar, Ahmed ElDawy and Moustafa Youssef. arXiv 2010.

Automatic scoring of online discussion posts [pdf]
Nayer Wanas, Motaz El Saban, Heba Ashour and Waleed Ammar. CIKM 2008, 2nd WICOW workshop.

Professional Experience

Google – Pittsburgh
Software Engineering Intern (Sep 2014 – Dec 2014)
Explored novel methods for large-scale online training of decision forests. Host: D. Sculley.

Microsoft Research – Redmond
Research Intern (May 2013 – Aug 2013)
Explored novel methods for optimization and model selection of unsupervised and semi-supervised learning with lexical constraints. Hosts: Kristina Toutanova and Hoifung Poon.

Microsoft Research – Redmond
Software Development Engineer II (Dec 2010 – Aug 2011)
Identified deficiencies of machine translated text and worked with researchers of the NLP group to find solutions. I was also responsible for integration of such solutions into the production system.

Microsoft Research – Microsoft Innovation Laboratory in Cairo
Research Software Development Engineer (Nov 2007 – Nov 2010)
Collaborated with researchers in MSR to push state of the art in the fields of Data Mining and Natural Language Processing by engineering prototype technologies, writing papers and formulating patents. I was also responsible for the transfer of research prototypes into Microsoft products.

Alexandria University
Teaching Assistant (Aug 2007 – Nov 2007)
Tutored students, held office hours, graded homework and mid-term exams, administrated tests and exams, and assisted professors with laboratory sessions.
Courses: Probability and Statistics I, Technical Writing I, and Introduction to Computers.

eSpace Technologies
Part-Time Software Developer (Jul 2007 – Nov 2007)
My role encompassed design and development of features in web portals as well as identification and resolution of deficiencies in web applications. I also took part in collecting customer requirements.

IBM Egypt – Cairo Technology Development Center
Intern at Human Language Technologies Group (Jul 2006 – Aug 2006)
Participated in TREC 2006 genomics track competition. We developed an information retrieval (IR) system capable of answering specific types of questions from within biological documents.

Procter & Gamble (P&G)
Intern on Project Management (Jun 2005 – Aug 2005)
Managed a real-world automation project at P&G powder factory in Egypt. Project scope included automatic identification of objects, semi-automatic acquisition of product type information, and rich web reporting system.