Alona Fyshe, PhD, MSc, BSc

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science - Computing Science


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science - Computing Science



I hold a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Artificial Intelligence Chair, am a fellow of the “Learning in Machines and Brains” CIFAR Program, and a fellow of the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (amii).


My interests are Computational Linguistics, Machine Learning and Neuroscience. My work combines all three of these areas to study the way the human brain processes language.

Models of language meaning (semantics) are typically built using large bodies of text (corpora) collected from the Internet. These corpora often contain billions of words, and thus cover the majority of the ways words are used. However, to build computer programs that truly understand language, and can understand more rare and nuanced word usage, we need algorithms that can generalize beyond common word usage. By collecting brain images of people reading, we can explore how the human brain handles the complexities of language, which could inspire the next generation of semantic models.


CMPUT 466 - Machine Learning

Learning is essential for many real-world tasks, including recognition, diagnosis, forecasting and data-mining. This course covers a variety of learning scenarios (supervised, unsupervised and partially supervised), as well as foundational methods for regression, classification, dimensionality reduction and modeling. Techniques such as kernels, optimization and probabilistic graphical models will typically be introduced. It will also provide the formal foundations for understanding when learning is possible and practical. Prerequisites: one of CMPUT 340 or 418; one of STAT 141, 151, 235 or 265 or SCI 151; or consent of the instructor.

Winter Term 2021
CMPUT 499 - Topics in Computing Science

This topics course is designed for a one on one individual study course between a student and an instructor. Prerequisites are determined by the instructor in the course outline. See Note (3) above.

Fall Term 2020
CMPUT 566 - Topics in Machine Learning

Winter Term 2021
PSYCO 576 - Cognitive Neuroscience

Prerequisite: consent of Department. [Faculty of Science]

Fall Term 2020

Browse more courses taught by Alona Fyshe


A Compositional and Interpretable Semantic Space
Author(s): Alona Fyshe, Leila Wehbe, Partha Talukdar, Brian Murphy, and Tom Mitchell
Publication: North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL HLT)
External Link:
BrainBench: A Brain-Image Test Suite for Distributional Semantic Models.
Author(s): Haoyan Xu, Brian Murphy, Alona Fyshe
Publication: Empirical Methods for Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)
External Link:
Decoding Language from the Brain.
Author(s): Brian Murphy, Leila Wehbe, Alona Fyshe
Publication: Language, Cognition, and Computational Models, Cambridge University Press
External Link:
The Emergence of Semantics in Neural Network Representations of Visual Information
Author(s): Dhanush Dharmaretnam, Alona Fyshe
Publication: The North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL HLT 2018)
External Link: