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Benjamin Nye

PhD Student


Office Location

440 Huntington Avenue
208 West Village H
Boston, MA 02115


  • MSE in Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • BA in Computer Science, Swarthmore College

About Me

  • Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Field of Study: Natural Language Processing
  • PhD Advisor: Byron Wallace


Benjamin Nye is a PhD student in the natural language processing program at Northeastern University, advised by Professor Byron Wallace. Benjamin’s research is focused on how natural language processing can positively aid the biomedical field. By analyzing medical literature through NLP, Benjamin works to reconcile and discover valuable information through machine learning and algorithms. Prior to joining Khoury College of Computer Sciences, Benjamin earned his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in computer science from Swarthmore College, as well as his Master’s of Science in engineering and computer information science from the University of Pennsylvania.

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

I completed my masters at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on Natural Language Processing, ending with an individual research project under Ani Nenkova.

I am now in the second semester of my PhD program at NEU, working with Byron Wallace.

What are your research interests in a bit more detail? Is your current academic/research path what you always had in mind for yourself, or has it evolved somewhat? If so, how/why?

I am currently (by way of Byron) interested in what NLP has to offer the biomedical field. When I began my graduate career I knew that I was interested in the artificial intelligence domain, and by the end of my masters I’d decided that NLP was a fascinating union of cold, calculating machine learning/algorithm and the squishy ever-changing self-contradicting mess that is human language. Reconciling the two paradigms is a constant challenge but applicable in so many places.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

The top-level question is “what the hell do we do with the volume of literature published in medical journals?”

What aspect of what you do is most interesting/fascinating to you? What aspects of your research (findings, angles, problems you’re solving) might surprise others?

The scope of the medical literature is both impressive and daunting. I’m very interested to see how approaches generalize across different topics within the domain, and which are too idiosyncratic or jargon-laden to play well with others.

What are your research/career goals, going forward?

Ultimately, I would like to end up in an academic position that is skewed more towards teaching. One of the things I love about academia is the culture of the pursuit of understanding and the dissemination of knowledge, and I find helping others learn to be extremely gratifying.

Where did you grow up/spend the most defining years of your childhood/young adulthood?

I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska and return to visit my family (and go on hiking or canoeing trips) as much as I can.