I’m Avijit Thawani, a Computer Science PhD student at USC. Friends (as if I have any) call me Avi. I work on Representation Learning within Natural Language Processing, with Jay Pujara at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI). I did my undergrad and masters in Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT BHU), Varanasi.
I’ve been fortunate to also be able to do research with a number of amazing mentors:
2023: Interned at Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK) with the Health Futures team, on the topic of Radiology Visual Question Answering. I was fortunate to present our open-source literature review tool in a talk at ISI. And Saras, my edtech AI chatbot, stood 3rd at VGSA Trojan Tank and was a semi-finalist at USC’s New Venture Seed Contest.
2022: Interned at Amazon Lab126 with the Alexa Conversations team, on the topic of compositional generalization. And presented work with Dipesh Kumar, at the ACL 2022 Workshop on Negative Insights, Dublin.
2021: Interned at AI2, Seattle. Tragic times in India. In between arranging oxygen for dying relatives and myself recovering from Covid-19, I tried to visualize the scale of the Indian crisis for Americans to better comprehend it. Meanwhile, our NAACL 2021 Survey on Numeracy in NLP featured in Sebastian Ruder’s NLP newsletter!
2020: Selected for MLSS 2020. We also fundraised registration fees to sponsor four Indian undergrads’ attendance at EMNLP 2020. In other news, TG, Harsh, and I submitted a proposal to the government of India on identifying Indian vernacular NLP as an emerging technology. Update: Our proposal was unfortunately not selected, but we’d love to hear your feedback so here’s the link.
2019: Started my PhD at USC on Annenberg Fellowship. Presented at the Machine Learning Healthcare Conference, Michigan. Also attended CVPR, ICML, and SIGGRAPH, West Coast NLP, and SoCal NLP. We ranked third in the IBM sponsored Table-to-KG matching challenge at the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2019) . Here’s the system description paper we wrote, and here are the slides. I also wrote a blog about my trip to ISWC.
2018: Three amazing job offers from Samsung, Myntra, and Headout. My long short film Stopping by Woods is now on YouTube (EDIT: over 65,000 views).