Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Seven New Faculty to Join CICS

New Faculty 2017-2018

The UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences has hired seven new tenure-track and teaching faculty, amplifying its data science and mobile health research areas, and adding teaching capacity to address rapid increases in undergraduate and graduate enrollment.

“The addition of these seven faculty, after hiring six new faculty in 2016-2017, further cements CICS and UMass Amherst as research destinations of choice. We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding researchers and educators,” said James Allan, chair of the CICS faculty.  

Peter Haas, Professor
Peter Haas’ research interests are in information management, stochastic modeling and simulation, and the mining, analytics, and exploration of massive data. He comes to CICS after 30 years at IBM Research – Almaden where he was most recently a Principal Research Staff Member. Among other accolades and awards, Haas is a Fellow of both ACM and INFORMS, and was named an IBM Master Inventor in 2012. For the past 20 years, he has also been a consulting professor at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in operations research from Stanford in 1986.


Mohit Iyyer, Assistant Professor
Mohit Iyyer’s main research interest is in designing deep neural networks for traditional natural language processing tasks and new problems that involve understanding creative language. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from University of Maryland College Park in 2017 where he was a member of the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing Lab. Iyyer is currently a young investigator at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and will join CICS in September 2018.


Anna Rita Napoleone, Teaching Faculty
Anna Rita Napoleone will be teaching the undergraduate writing course for computer science students in their junior year.  Her research focuses on classed literacy practices in higher education. She has published in the Pedagogy journal, and has contributed to edited collections such as Examining Education, Media, and Dialogue under Occupation, and Out in the Center (forthcoming). Napoleone has a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Tauhidur Rahman, Assistant Professor
Tauhidur Rahman’s research focuses on developing mobile and ubiquitous computing technologies for human health and behavior sensing. He completed his Ph.D. in information science at Cornell University in 2017 where he was a member of the People-Aware Computing Lab. He received a 2016 Google Ph.D. fellowship in mobile computing, and best paper and honorable mention awards in ACM Digital Health 2016 and Ubicomp 2015. He will join CICS in January 2018 and will also be affiliated with UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS).


Marco Serafini, Assistant Professor
Marco Serafini’s research lies at the intersection of database systems, distributed systems, and data science. Set to join the CICS faculty in January 2018, he is currently a scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). Previously, Serafini was a post-doctoral research fellow at Yahoo! Research in Barcelona. He received a Ph.D. in computer science from TU Darmstadt (Germany) in 2010 where his thesis was nominated for best thesis awards by the German, Swiss, and Austrian computer science societies and the German chapter of the ACM.


Philip Thomas, Assistant Professor
Philip Thomas conducts research in reinforcement learning (RL), decision making, and artificial intelligence safety, with a focus on designing biologically plausible RL algorithms. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015 and received the CICS Outstanding Teaching Assistant and Outstanding Dissertation Awards in 2012 and 2015, respectively. He returns to CICS after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. 


Jie Xiong, Assistant Professor
Jie Xiong’s research interests are in device-free human activity tracking, fine-grained gestures recognition, and wireless networking. He will join CICS in January 2018 from Singapore Management University where he is currently an assistant professor of information systems. Xiong earned his Ph.D. in computer science from University College London in 2015 and is the recipient of a Google European Doctoral Fellowship and a British Computer Society Distinguished Dissertation Award runner-up. He will also be affiliated with UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS).