Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

James Allan

Chair of the Faculty & Professor
202 CS Building
(413) 545-2742


Information retrieval, event-based information organization, minimally interactive retrieval and organization.


Professor Allan's research focuses on information retrieval, event-based information organization, as well as minimally interactive retrieval and organization. He also explores how novelty can be incorporated into retrieval algorithms, techniques for representing and retrieving video segments, and methods for recognizing controversial topics on the Web.


Ph.D., Computer Science, Cornell University (1995), M.S., Computer Science, Cornell University (1991), A.B., Mathematics, Grinnell College (1983). Professor Allan joined the Computer Science Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1994 and has run through a number of titles, most recently Professor as of 2008. He is currently serving as Chair of the Faculty and is co-Director of the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR). He previously spent five years as a systems programmer/analyst at Dickinson College and has been a partner in a software services company.

Activities & Awards

Professor Allan serves on the organizing and program committees for major conferences in the area (SIGIR, CIKM, WSDM, etc), has been an associate editor of ACM's Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS) journal and Elsevier's Information Processing and Management (IPM) journal, and has served as chair of the SIGIR organization. He is currently on the editorial board of Foundation and Trends in Information Retrieval. With his students, he received Best Paper awards in SIGIR in 2001 and in 2006 as well as a Best Student Paper from CHIIR in 2017. He also received a SIGIR Test of Time Award for a 1998 paper on event detection and tracking. In 2018, he was elected to the CRA Board of Directors for a three-year term.