Department of Linguistics and the College
Allyson Ettinger is a computational linguist whose research executes two primary lines of inquiry. The first uses computational methods to better understand the mechanisms underlying processing of language in the human brain. The second seeks to analyze, evaluate, and improve natural language understanding in artificial intelligence systems, often using insights and methods from cognitive science, linguistics, and neuroscience. In both of these threads of research, her main focus is on the processing and representation of linguistic meaning.
She promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-pollination between areas of cognitive and computer science, and has helped to organize such initiatives as the Workshop on Building Linguistically Generalizable Natural Language Processing Systems, which brings together linguists and computer scientists.
Ettinger received her PhD in linguistics from the University of Maryland and her BA in linguistics and psychology from Brandeis University. She also holds a graduate certificate from the Johns Hopkins University–Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her PhD work. She holds a courtesy faculty appointment at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago.