About me

Hi Dear Visitor! I am an Applied Scientist at Amazon Alexa Shopping. I obtained my Ph.D. from the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst. During my Ph.D., I worked as a research assistant at the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR) under the supervision of Professor James Allan. I have worked on several NSF and IARPA-funded projects in my Ph.D. I have interned at Amazon Query Understanding (Manager: Dr. Danqing Zhang ), Amazon Alexa Shopping Science (Manager: Dr. Vanessa Murdock ), and Checkstep (Manager: Professor Isabelle Augenstein and Professor Preslav Nakov ). I have been a PC member for various conferences since 2019. The list includes ECIR, SIGIR, CIKM, ACL Rolling Review, ACL, EMNLP, AAAI, IEEE TKDE, and IRJ.

I am primarily interested in information retrieval and natural language processing problems with limited labeled data. A focus on limited labeled data opened up opportunities for me to conduct research in domain adaptation, cross-lingual transfer learning, data augmentation, retrieval-enhanced learning, and diversification approaches for data sampling for active learning. At this stage in my career, I see fine-tuning language models as one of the most significant problems to adapt to evolving data, and I aim to develop retrieval-based solutions to reduce the fine-tuning frequency for deployed models. 


– [December 2021] Our paper on cross-language abuse detection got accepted to the Transaction of the Association of Computational Linguistics (TACL) journal. We will present this paper at ACL'22.

– [June 2021] Our paper on a data augmentation approach for hate speech detection got accepted for presentation at ICWSM'22.

– [June 2021] Started internship at Amazon A9 Query Understanding team. The resource support is amazing!!

– [June 2021] Our paper on learning from explanation got the best paper award at TrustNLP@NAACL workshop.

– [June 2021] Got the FLORES computing grant from Facebook AI for training neural machine translation models for low-resource languages. Thanks to Nishanth Gupta for seeing this through to the end. We will work on Bengali language!

– [June 2021] “Utility of missing information in Query-biased Summarization” accepted at SIGIR ‘21. We introduced a very timely concept for search results summarization.

– [June 2021] Had a very good collaboration with Dr. Andy Halterman and Katherine A. Keith that resulted in a publication at ACL ‘21 (Findings). We jointly worked to create a dataset for social scientists who are interested in drawing statistical information about events from text data.

– [March 2021] Started an interesting collaboration with Checkstep on explainable abusive content detection.

– [February 2021] Successfully finished my internship at Checkstep. We wrote a paper on Cross-lingual abusive content detection.

– [October 2020] Started internship at Checkstep. to work on abusive content detection under the supervision of Professor Isabelle Augenstein and Dr. Preslav Nakov.

– [July 2020] Presented our paper on Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval at SIGIR ‘20.

– [June 2020] A theoretical IR research paper accepted at ICTIR ‘20. It was my approximation algorithm class project and I continued to improve it over a year to finally get it accepted. The paper jointly optimizes relevance and diversification using a linear programming formulation.

– [April 2020] “Toward Neural Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval” has been accepted for publication in SIGIR '20.

– [April 2020] “Query by Example for Cross-Lingual Event Retrieval” has been accepted for publication in SIGIR '20.

– [October 2019] Attended ICTIR 2019 from October 1 - October 7, 2019 to present two papers showing how information extraction can be formulated as an information retrieval problem.

– [A[September 2019] Successfully finished my internship on hate speech detection at Amazon Alexa Shopping Science team under the supervision of Dr. Vanessa Murdock. We submitted a long paper based on our work.

– [July 2019] Successfully presented my poster in ACL '19, Florence, Italy. Really enjoyed the social program. The conference hosted fireworks!!!

– [June 2019] Started working as an Applied Scientist Intern at Amazon Alexa Shopping Science Team under the supervision of Dr. Vanessa Murdock.

– [June 2019] Two papers accepted to ICTIR ‘19. Both the papers focus on information retrieval approaches for information extraction.

– [March 2019] I am a Phd Candidate now!

– [September 2018] Started working on IARPA MATERIAL project focusing on cross-lingual information retrieval.

– [October 2018] Presented two papers at the EYRE ‘18 workshop at CIKM.

– [March 2018] Attended CHIIR ‘18 and presented our paper on contextual named entity retrieval.

– [December 2017] “Term Relevance Feedback for Contextual Named Entity Retrieval” has been accepted to the CHIIR ‘18.

– [January 2017] Started working on NSF funded project SearchIE. Officially became a member of CIIR. I will work under the supervision of Professor James Allan as an MS/PhD student.

– [June 2021] Started internship at Amazon A9 Query Understanding team. The resource support is amazing!!

– [June 2021] Started internship at Amazon A9 Query Understanding team. The resource support is amazing!!

Current status

Applied Scientist II, Amazon Alexa Shopping Research, Seattle, WA.


smsarwar,umass at gmail.com


Amazon Cricket, 440 Terry Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109