Alona Fyshe, PhD, MSc, BSc

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science - Computing Science

Pronouns: She/her/hers


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science - Computing Science
356 Athabasca Hall
9119 - 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E8


Area of Study / Keywords

natural language processing neuroscience machine learning


I hold a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Artificial Intelligence Chair. I am a fellow of the “Learning in Machines and Brains” CIFAR Program, and a fellow of the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (amii). My BSc and MSc are from the University of Alberta, and my PhD is from Carnegie Mellon University.


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.


I teach graduate course on machine learning and neuroscience in both the computing science and psychology departments. In the past I have also taught upper level machine learning in CS (466/566) and psych 354.


PSYCH 354 - Foundations of Cognitive Science

An introduction to the theories and research practices of cognitive science by examining contributions of cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and neuroscience to a variety of research areas. Prerequisites: STAT 141 or 151 or 161 or SCI 151 and PSYCH 258. [Faculty of Science]

Browse more courses taught by Alona Fyshe

Featured Publications

Alona Fyshe, Leila Wehbe, Partha Talukdar, Brian Murphy, and Tom Mitchell

North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL HLT).

Haoyan Xu, Brian Murphy, Alona Fyshe

Empirical Methods for Natural Language Processing (EMNLP).

Brian Murphy, Leila Wehbe, Alona Fyshe

Language, Cognition, and Computational Models, Cambridge University Press.

Dhanush Dharmaretnam, Alona Fyshe

The North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL HLT 2018).