About

I am Khalil (, ), a Computer Science PhD Candidate in NLP at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), working with Prof. Ndapa Nakashole.

My research interests are in Natural Language Processing and Deep Learning. More precisely, I work on Generalization and Interpretability for Learned Text Embeddings. I want to develop interpretable neural models and make them generalizable to a wider range of applications and environments. My latest focus is on developing models that generalize to long, user-written medical questions.

I spent summer 2019 on an intenrship with Adobe Research’s NLP Group, where I developed a state-of-the-art parser and the Label Attention Layer. I spent the next summer working at Amazon Alexa, where I worked on Reinforcement Learning for Controllable Abstractive Summarization.

I received my Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland. As part of my Bachelor’s, I spent a year on exchange at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. I interned for a summer at Infosys in their Bangalore, India headquarters, and for a semester at the EPFL-based Digital Lab.

My research is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health through the National Institute on Aging, Adobe Research Gifts, and an Amazon Research Award (ARA) through the AWS AI call for proposals.

PhD Timeline

2021

  • August: I completed UC San Diego Rady School of Management’s MicroMBA course!
  • August: We are organizing a poster session at our North Africans in NLP event at ACL 2021! Tune in to listen to NLP work by North African researchers on August 4th at 4pm GMT.
  • July: Our workshop proposal Moroccan Darija Wikipedia: Basics of Natural Language Processing for a Low-Resource Language has been accepted at AMLD Africa! Our workshop will be held on September 4th.
  • June: I passed my candidacy exam! I am officially a PhD Candidate.
  • June: I won the Best Student Paper award at the NAACL 2021 workshop on NLP for Medical Conversations for “Joint Summarization-Entailment Optimization for Consumer Health Question Understanding”!
  • June: Invited to hold a virtual workshop on Monday, June 14th at 6pm Morocco time on “Getting Started in NLP: Building an AI model for text classification” at the 15th Journées Nationales des Jeunes Développeurs” (JNJD) held at INPT in Rabat, Morocco!
  • June: I am excited to start my internship at Facebook AI!
  • May: 4 NEW first-author publications on Medical Question Understanding and Answering! 2/2 long papers accepted at ACL 2021 (main conference), and 2/2 papers accepted at NAACL 2021 Workshops.
  • April: My research proposal “Learning Representations for Voice-Based Conversational Agents for Older Adults” with my advisor has won an Amazon Research Award under the AWS AI call for proposals! This award will fund me for a year, and comes with generous AWS credits.
    Media coverage: UC San Diego News, Tech Xplore, TekCrispy (en español), UCSD CSE News, UCSD Engineering News, UCSD Engineering on Twitter, UCSD Engineering on Facebook
  • April: Reviewing for ACL-IJCNLP 2021, EACL 2021, BioNLP workshop at ACL-IJCNLP 2021, AfricaNLP workshop at EACL 2021, ACM Transactions on Computing for Healthcare, Scientific Document Understanding workshop at AAAI 2021.
  • March: Member of the organizing committee of the 2021 SoCal ML & NLP Symposium held on March 22nd and 23rd. Fatemeh and I are organizing the NLP day social on networking and career paths for underrepresented minorities!
  • February: Giving a talk about my EMNLP 2020 paper at the Morocco.AI Webinar series! Register, and tune in on Wednesday, February 10th, at 8pm Morocco time, 11am PT, 2pm ET.
  • January: Happy New Year! The recording of our North Africans in NLP Panel Discussion at EMNLP 2020 is available here.

2020

  • December: We are back for a second edition of North Africans in NLP, this time at COLING 2020! Join us on Wednesday, December 9th at 7.30pm Morocco/Algeria/Tunisia time.
  • November: Organizing the North Africans in NLP social at EMNLP 2020 with Asma Ben Abacha, Meriem Beloucif, Nedjma Ousidhoum and Waleed Ammar! Please join us!
  • September: 1 Long paper accepted to EMNLP 2020.
  • July: Attending ACL 2020, online, thanks to a Diversity and Inclusion award.
  • June: Excited to start a summer internship with Amazon Alexa! I visited their beautiful Seattle office in January, but due to COVID-19, this internship will be entirely remote.
  • May: Check out our updated work with Adobe Research on the Label Attention Layer!
  • April: Attending ICLR 2020, online, thanks to a Diversity and Inclusion award.
  • March: Reviewing for ICML 2020.
  • March: Patent with Adobe Research successfully filed for our Label Attention Layer!
  • February: Reviewing for ACL 2020.
  • February: 2 papers accepted to CHI 2020 workshops.
  • January: Excited to start collaborating on the NIH-funded VOLI research project!

2019

2018

  • September: Joining the UCSD NLP Group!