Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

James Allan

Associate Dean of Research and Engagement & Professor
370 CS Building
(413) 545-3240


Information retrieval, event-based information organization, controversy and misinformation detection.


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 querying across languages, and methods for recognizing controversial or misleading information in text on the internet.


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 directs the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR). He previously spent five years as a systems programmer/analyst at Dickinson College and (in today's vernacular) was co-founder of a startup selling email software in the 1980s.

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 and then to the CRA Executive Committee as Treasurer.