Syracuse University

SU News

Center for Natural Language Processing appoints new interim director

June 18, 2008

Margaret Costello Spillett
315 443 1069

Margaret Costello Spillett

The Center for Natural Language Processing in Syracuse University's School of Information Studies has named information studies professor Kevin Crowston as interim director. He replaces assistant research professor Anne Diekema, who has served in the position since June 2007 and who recently accepted a tenure-track position at Utah State University.

Since its founding in 1999, the Center for Natural Language Processing (CNLP) has been dedicated to advancing the development of human-like language understanding systems for government, commercial and consumer applications.

Under the leadership of Trustee Professor Elizabeth D. Liddy of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) for eight years, the center brought in more than $8 million in sponsored research from a variety of public and private organizations and made significant contributions to the field of NLP and information retrieval. During this time, Liddy also obtained five patents for her innovations in the NLP field, led dozens of research projects, and published more than 100 papers based on her work at the center.

In June 2007, Liddy was named interim dean of the iSchool and appointed Diekema to take the helm of CNLP on an interim basis. This spring, Liddy was named to the permanent position of dean, and now the iSchool seeks to find a permanent director of CNLP. Crowston will head the center until a permanent director is hired.

Crowston has been working with CNLP on Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects and has been very successful in obtaining external funding for his research projects. He currently has two FLOSS projects and a third project, "How can document-genre metadata improve information-access for large digital collections," funded by the National Science Foundation.

Crowston received his A.B. (1984) in applied mathematics (computer science) from Harvard University and a Ph.D. (1991) in information technologies from MIT's Sloan School of Management. His Ph.D. dissertation, "Towards a Coordination Cookbook: Recipes for Multi-agent Action" (10 MB, PDF), won the International Centre for Information Technology (ICIT) Thesis Prize for best dissertation in Information Systems in 1991 and was a runner-up for the International Conference on Information Systems thesis prize in 1992.

As interim director, Crowston will be responsible for:

  • identifying research opportunities where faculty, staff and students can make the greatest contribution to advancing science and practice in the area of human language technologies;
  • securing funding from public and private entities to support this work;
  • conducting leading-edge research in these areas; and
  • sharing the results of those efforts with academic and professional communities.

Recent News