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Mohit Bansal

Parker Distinguished Professor

Director, MURGe-Lab (UNC-NLP Group)
Lead (Core AI), ENGAGE NSF-AI Institute Computer Science Dept., UNC Chapel Hill
FB-244, 201 S. Columbia St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3175
mbansal -atsign- cs . unc . edu
Google Scholar, LinkedIn, Twitter


I am looking for motivated PhD students & postdocs in NLP, ML, multimodal AI: [Info for Prospective Students (2024)] [Department's Why-UNC Page]

Postdoc Opening (new 2024): [link]


Dr. Mohit Bansal is the John R. & Louise S. Parker Distinguished Professor and the Director of the MURGe-Lab (UNC-NLP Group) in the Computer Science department at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill. Prior to this, he was a research assistant professor (3-year endowed position) at TTI-Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in 2013 from the University of California at Berkeley (where he was advised by Dan Klein) and his B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur in 2008. His research expertise is in natural language processing and multimodal machine learning, with a particular focus on multimodal generative models, grounded and embodied semantics, faithful language generation, and interpretable, efficient, and generalizable deep learning. He is a recipient of Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (ECASE), IIT Kanpur Young Alumnus Award, DARPA Director's Fellowship, NSF CAREER Award, Google Focused Research Award, Microsoft Investigator Fellowship, Army Young Investigator Award (YIP), DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA), and outstanding paper awards at ACL, CVPR, EACL, COLING, and CoNLL. He has been a keynote speaker for the AACL 2023, CoNLL 2023, and INLG 2022 conferences. His service includes EMNLP and CoNLL Program Co-Chair, and ACL Executive Committee, ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award Committee, ACL Americas Sponsorship Co-Chair, and Associate/Action Editor for TACL, CL, IEEE/ACM TASLP, and CSL journals.

Work Experience

Computer Science department, UNC Chapel Hill (2016 — present)
John R. & Louise S. Parker Distinguished Professorship
Director, MURGe-Lab (UNC-NLP Group)
Full Professor 2022-present
Associate Professor: 2020-2022
Assistant Professor: 2016-2020

Toyota Technological Institute, Chicago (2013 — 2016)
Research Assistant Professor

EECS, UC Berkeley (2008 — 2013)
Graduate Student Researcher (Advisor: Dan Klein)

Google Research, Mountain View (Summer 2011)
Research Intern (with John DeNero and Dekang Lin)

Microsoft Research, Redmond (Summer 2010)
Research Intern (with Chris Quirk and Bob Moore)

Cornell University, Ithaca (Summer 2007)
Research Intern (with Lillian Lee and Claire Cardie)

Selected Awards/Honors

Provost's Kenan Senior Faculty Research and Scholarly Leave Award, 2023-2024.

IIT Kanpur Young Alumnus Award, 2023.

Keynote Speaker, CoNLL, 2023.

Keynote Speaker, AACL, 2023.

Keynote Speaker, INLG, 2022.

Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (ECASE), Army Research Office, 2021.

CoNLL Best Paper Runner-Up Award, 2021.

CVPR Best Student Paper Honorable Mention, 2021.

EACL Best Long Paper Award Honorable Mention, 2021.

UNC Phillip & Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, 2020.

IJCAI Early Career Spotlight, 2020 (previous years: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

John R. & Louise S. Parker Distinguished Professorship, 2020

DARPA Director's Fellowship, 2019

Microsoft Investigator Fellowship, 2019

Amazon Machine Learning Research Award, 2019

NSF-CAREER Award, 2019

Google Focused Research Award, 2019

ACL Best Short Paper Nomination, 2019

Salesforce Research Deep Learning Grant, 2018

Facebook Faculty Research Award, 2018

IBM Faculty Award, 2018

Army Research Office Young Investigator Award (ARO-YIP), 2018

COLING 'Area Chair Favorites' Paper Award, 2018

Adobe Faculty Research Award, 2018

Verisk AI Faculty Research Award, 2018

DARPA Young Faculty Award (DARPA-YFA), 2017

Facebook ParlAI Faculty Research Award, 2017

ACL Outstanding Paper Award, 2017

Google Faculty Research Award, 2016

Best Paper Award, ACL Representation Learning for NLP Workshop, 2016

Bloomberg Data Science Research Grant, 2016

NVidia Paper Award, NIPS Multimodal Machine Learning Workshop, 2015

Google Faculty Research Award, 2014

IBM Faculty Award, 2014

ACL Best Paper Award Honorable Mention, 2014

Best/Outstanding Reviewer Award, COLING 2018, NAACL 2018, NAACL 2015, EMNLP 2012

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, UC Berkeley, 2011

Tong Leong Lim Pre-Doctoral Prize, EECS, UC Berkeley, 2011

Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship, 2011

Student Fellowships/Awards:

Bloomberg PhD Fellowship, 2023 (Jaemin Cho)

CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Winner 2023 (Zineng Tang)

Google NLP PhD Fellowship, 2022 (Swarnadeep Saha)

Apple AI/ML PhD Fellowship, 2022 (Yichen Jiang)

Bloomberg PhD Fellowship, 2021 (Shiyue Zhang)

Google PhD Fellowship, 2021 (Peter Hase)

Adobe Research Fellowship, 2021 (Jie Lei)

Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship, 2019 (Ramakanth Pasunuru)

Facebook PhD Fellowship Finalist, 2019 (Ramakanth Pasunuru)

Bloomberg Data Science PhD Fellowship, 2019 (Hao Tan)

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2018 (Lisa Bauer)

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2019 (Darryl Hannan)

Royster Society Kenan Fellowship, 2019 (Peter Hase)

CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Runner-Up, 2020 (Sweta Karlekar)

CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Honorable Mention, 2019 (Han Guo)

CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Finalist, 2020 (Han Guo

Other Funding/Grants:

DARPA Environment-driven Conceptual Learning (ECOLE) (UNC PI)

ONR Science of Artificial Intelligence – Basic and Applied Research for the Naval Domain (Overall PI)

NSF-AI Institute on Engaged Learning (Core AI Lead; UNC PI)

NSF Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (UNC Co-PI)

ONR Advancing Artificial Intelligence for the Naval Domain (UNC PI)

DARPA Machine Common Sense (MCS) (UNC PI)

DARPA Knowledge-directed Artificial Intelligence Reasoning Over Schemas (KAIROS) (UNC PI)

NSF-NIH SCH AURA Connecting Audio and Radio Sensing Systems to Improve Care at Home (UNC Co-PI)

Publications (+Code/Data)


Instructor, COMP590/790: Connecting Language to Vision and Robotics, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2023.

Instructor, COMP590/790: Connecting Language to Vision and Robotics, UNC Chapel Hill, Fall 2021.

Instructor, COMP786: Natural Language Processing, UNC Chapel Hill, Fall 2020.

Instructor, First-Year Undergraduate Honors Seminar: Special Topics: Human and Artificial Intelligence Through the Prism of Language, Fall 2019.

Instructor, Advanced Topics in NLP: Recent Progress in Different Learning Paradigms, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2019.

Instructor, Advanced Topics in NLP: Conversational Models, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2018.

Instructor, Graduate Natural Language Processing, UNC Chapel Hill, Fall 2017.

Instructor, Advanced Topics in NLP: Language Grounding for Robotics, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2017.

Instructor, Seminar on Natural Language Processing, UNC Chapel Hill, Fall 2016.

Guest Lecturer, Computational Linguistics (Instructor: John Goldsmith), University of Chicago, Spring 2015.

Guest Lecturer, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (Instructor: Matthew Walter), TTI-Chicago, University of Chicago, Spring 2015.

Guest Lecturer, Visual Recognition with Text (Instructor: Sanja Fidler), University of Toronto, Winter 2015 — short course on 'Topics, Trends, and Resources in NLP' [slides].

Grad Student Instructor, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (Instructor: Dan Klein), UC Berkeley, Fall 2011. Received an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award by UC Berkeley for excellence in teaching.

Grad Student Instructor, Advanced Topics in Artificial Intelligence (Instructors: Pieter Abbeel, Dan Klein, Jitendra Malik), UC Berkeley, Spring 2009. Sole TA for new course with 30 advanced students.

Recent Invited Talks/Keynotes:

Keynote, Lisbon Machine Learning Summer School (LxMLS) 2024

USC Distinguished Lecture Series

Keynote, SouthNLP Symposium 2024

Invited Speaker, IndoML 2023

IISc Bangalore (Kotak AI-ML Centre)

Keynote, 27th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL 2023) ['Multimodal Generative LLMs: Unification, Interpretability, Evaluation': video]

Invited Speaker, TTIC 20th Anniversary Celebration

Keynote, AACL-IJCNLP 2023

Penn State NLP Colloquium Series

Auburn AI Distinguished Speaker Series, 2023

TWIML AI Podcast: 'Unifying Vision and Language Models'

ACL 2023 Narrative Understanding Workshop

CVPR 2023 Explainable AI for Computer Vision (XAI4CV) Workshop

IBM Neuro-Symbolic AI Workshop 2023 ['Modeling and Evaluating Faithful Generation in Language (and Vision)']

MBZUAI AI Quorum's Inaugural NLP Symposium ['Unified and Efficient Vision-and-Language Modeling': video]

UT Austin Forum for Artificial Intelligence

Stanford NLP Seminar

Open Data Science Conference

ICML 2022 Pre-training Workshop ['Unified and Efficient Multimodal Pretraining Across Vision and Language': video]

Keynote, 15th International Conference on Natural Language Generation (INLG 2022) ['Modeling and Evaluating Faithful Generation in Language (and Vision)': video]

Robustness in Sequential Data (ROSE) Workshop, CVPR 2022

Summarization of Creative Text Workshop, COLING 2022

Indian Symposium on Machine Learning (IndoML), 2021 ['Knowledgeable and Spatio-Temporal Vision+Language': video]

Fact Extraction and VERification (FEVER) Workshop, EMNLP 2021

Closing the Loop Between Vision and Language (CLVL) Workshop, ICCV 2021 ['Knowledgeable and Spatio-Temporal Vision+Language': video]

Human Interaction for Robotic Navigation Workshop, ICCV 2021 ['Video and Embodied Grounding for Language': video]

CVIT Summer School on Artificial Intelligence, 2021

Advances in Language and Vision Research (ALVR) Workshop, NAACL 2021

Person in Context Workshop, CVPR 2021

VQA Workshop, CVPR 2021 ['Knowledgeable and Spatio-Temporal Vision+Language': video, slides]

IJCAI 2020 Early Career Spotlight Talk

Singapore Symposium on Natural Language Processing (SSNLP 2020) ['Towards Knowledge-Robust and Multimodally-Grounded NLP': video]

3rd Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation (WNGT @ EMNLP 2019) ['Knowledgeable and Multimodal Language Generation': slides]

1st Workshop on Beyond Vision and Language: Integrating Knowledge from Real-World (LANTERN @ EMNLP 2019) ['Knowledgeable and Dynamic Spatio-Temporal Language+Vision+Robotics': slides]

Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering (MRQA @ EMNLP 2019) ['Interpretability and Robustness for Multi-Hop QA': slides]

4th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP @ ACL 2019) ['Knowledgeable and Adversarially-Robust Representation Learning': slides]

RSS-2018 Natural Human-Robot Communication Workshop ['Spatially-Grounded, Personable, and Sensible Human-Robot Communication']

Triangle ML Day

Google Assistant Dialog Workshop

Machine Learning Summer School

SAS-Nvidia Deep Learning Symposium

ML@GeorgiaTech Seminar

Kenan-InfiaML-Rethinc Machine Learning Symposium

UNC Alumni AI Panel


Student openings: I am looking for highly motivated PhD students. If you are interested in the broad areas of multimodal NLP (with vision and speech, for robotics), language generation and dialogue/Q&A, and structured+interpretable deep learning, please see my prospective student page and contact me at mbansal-AT-cs-DOT-unc-DOT-edu for further details.

More student info at: MURGe-Lab

UNC Advisees:
Shiyue Zhang (UNC, PhD) (Bloomberg Data Science PhD Fellow)
Xiang Zhou (UNC, PhD)
Peter Hase (UNC, PhD) (Google PhD Fellow)
Yichen Jiang (UNC, PhD) (Apple AI/ML PhD Fellow)
Adyasha Maharana (UNC, PhD)
Swarnadeep Saha (UNC, PhD) (Google PhD Fellow)
Jaemin Cho (UNC, PhD)
Jialu Li (UNC, PhD)
Prateek Yadav (UNC, PhD)
Archiki Prasad (UNC, PhD)
Yi-Lin Sung (UNC, PhD)
David Wan (UNC, PhD)
Vaidehi Patil (UNC, PhD)
Ziyang Wang (UNC, PhD)
Shoubin Yu (UNC, PhD)

Abhay Zala (UNC, MS)
Zhuofan Ying (UNC, BS)
Zineng Tang (UNC, BS) (CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award 2023)
Hanna Tischer (UNC, BS)

Past Advisees:
Lisa Bauer (UNC, PhD) (NSF Graduate Research Fellow) --> Research Scientist, Amazon AI
Hyounghun Kim (UNC, PhD) --> Assistant Professor, UNIST
Jie Lei (UNC, PhD; co-advisor: Tamara Berg) (Adobe Research Fellow) --> Research Scientist, Facebook AI
Yixin Nie (UNC, PhD) --> Research Scientist, Facebook AI
Darryl Hannan (UNC, MS) --> AI Engineer, Drexel
Ramakanth Pasunuru (UNC, PhD) (Microsoft Research PhD Fellow; Facebook PhD Fellowship Finalist) --> Research Scientist, FAIR Lab, Meta
Hao Tan (UNC, PhD) (Bloomberg Data Science PhD Fellow) --> Research Scientist, Adobe Research
Yen-Chun Chen (UNC, MS) --> Researcher, Microsoft Research
Tong Niu (Visiting student; Duke, MS) --> Research Scientist, Salesforce Research
Licheng Yu (UNC, PhD; advisor = Tamara Berg) --> Research Scientist, Facebook AI

Han Guo (UNC, BS) (CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Finalist, 2020) --> PhD Student, CMU
Sweta Karlekar (UNC, BS) (CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Runner-Up, 2020) --> ML Engineer, Facebook
Yinuo (Eva) Hu (UNC, BS) (Highest Honors) --> MS, UC Berkeley
Samip Dahal (UNC, BS) --> Replit
Antonio Mendoza (UNC, BS) --> Verisk Analytics
Tsion Coulter (UNC, BS) --> Deloitte
Songhe Wang (UNC, BS) --> PhD Student, Penn State
Yicheng Wang (UNC, BS) --> Software Engineer, JaneStreet
Nitish Joshi (Visiting student; IIT Bombay, BS) --> PhD Student, NYU

Malika Aubakirova (UChicago, BS)
Arjun Chandrasekaran (Visiting Student; Georgia Tech, PhD; advisor = Devi Parikh)
Dhivya Eswaran (IIT-Madras, BTech --> CMU, PhD)
Rasool Fakoor (UT-Arlington, PhD --> MSR)
Arnab Ghosh (IIT Kanpur, BTech --> Oxford, PhD)
Yuchen He (UIUC, PhD)
Myungin Kim (UChicago, MS)
Zuyao Li (USC, MS --> Google/Nest)
Ang Lu (Tsinghua, BS --> CMU, MS)
Pranava S. Madhyastha (UPC Barcelona, PhD)
Hongyuan Mei (UChicago/TTIC, MS --> JHU, PhD) (MS Thesis Co-Advisor)
Aravind L Srinivas (IIT Madras, BTech --> UC Berkeley, PhD)
Ryan Stout (UIUC, MS)
Trang Tran (UWash, PhD)
Jing Wang (UIC, PhD --> Conversant)
John Wieting (UIUC/TTIC MS --> CMU, PhD)
Zhengyang Wu (GeorgiaTech, BS --> MagicLeap)

Professional Service

Program Chair, EMNLP 2024

Member, ACL Executive Committee (2022-2024)

Member, ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award Committee (2021-2024)

Action Editor, TACL Journal

Action Editor, Computational Linguistics (CL) Journal

Associate Editor, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio Speech and Language Processing (TASLP)

Editorial Board, Computer Speech and Language Journal

Americas Sponsorship Co-Chair for the ACL (2020-2022)

Senior Area Chair: EACL 2024

Senior Area Chair: EMNLP 2023

Senior Area Chair: ACL Rolling Review (ARR)

Senior Area Chair: IJCAI 2023

Senior Area Chair: AAAI 2023

Area Chair: NeurIPS 2022

Senior Area Chair: ACL 2022

Area Chair: ICLR 2022

Senior Area Chair (Vision, Robotics, Grounding): ACL 2021

Senior Area Chair (Vision, Robotics, Grounding): NAACL 2021

Senior Area Chair: AAAI 2021

Senior Area Chair (Machine Learning): EMNLP 2020

Senior Area Chair (Sentence Semantics): ACL 2020

Program Co-Chair: CoNLL 2019

Senior Program Committee Member: AAAI 2020

Area Chair (Semantics): EMNLP 2019

Area Chair (Summarization): NAACL 2019

Area Chair (Discourse, Dialogue, Summarization, Generation, Multimodal NLP): EMNLP 2018

Tutorial Chair: NAACL 2018

Area Chair (Vision, Robots, and Grounding): ACL 2017

Area Chair (Machine Learning): EMNLP 2017

Demo Chair: ACL 2017

Tutorial Chair: NAACL 2016

Area Chair: NAACL 2016

Program Committee Member / Reviewer:

Conferences: EMNLP (best reviewer award, 2012), NAACL (best reviewer award, 2018, 2015), ACL, NIPS, ICLR, IJCAI, EACL, COLING (outstanding reviewer award, 2018), *SEM, IJCNLP, ICON


Workshops: ACL Workshop of Women in Natural Language Processing (2017), ACL Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (2017), EACL Workshop on Ethics in Natural Language Processing (2017), NAACL Multilingual and Crosslingual Methods in NLP (2016), NAACL Human-Computer Question Answering (2016), ACL Evaluating Vector-Space Representations for NLP (2016), NAACL Vector Space Modeling for NLP (2015)

University Research Proposals: ORAU

Organizer: SpLU-RoboNLP Joint Workshop at NAACL 2019, CVPR 2019 Workshop on Conceptual Captions, NLP/ML Colloquium Series at UNC, Language Grounding for Robotics at ACL 2017, Midwest Speech and Language Days 2015

Committee Member: Graduate (PhD) Admissions Committee, EECS, UC Berkeley

Panel Member: National Science Foundation (NSF) Review Panels

Software and Datasets: Available as links with corresponding paper in Publications/Code/Data.