Brendan T. O'Connor

Twitter: @brendan642

Assistant Professor, College of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Office: Room 348, Computer Science Building, 140 Governors Drive (Amherst, MA 01003-9264)
Map with directions (10 MB pdf), google maps, campus map

I am an assistant professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at University of Massachusetts, Amherst (since Fall 2014). I am affiliated with the Computational Social Science Institute, the Initiative in Cognitive Science, and the Centers for Data Science and Intelligent Information Retrieval.



Teaching, past:

See the SLANG Lab page.

What can statistical text analysis tell us about society? I develop text analysis methods that can help answer social science questions. I'm interested in statistical machine learning and natural language processing, especially when informed by or applied to areas like political science or sociolinguistics. My work often uses text data from news and social media.

See also my (oldish) research statement or publications below. If you are interested in getting involved in research, shoot me an email.

There is a rich set of other faculty at UMass interested in areas from computational social science to natural language processing. See the Computational Social Science Institute (CSSI) website, and this list of computation+language researchers and courses.

I finished my PhD in 2014 from Carnegie Mellon University's Machine Learning Department, where I was advised by Noah A. Smith. I have also been a Visiting Fellow at Harvard IQSS, and interned with the Facebook Data Science team. Before grad school, I worked on crowdsourced annotations at CrowdFlower / Dolores Labs, as well as "semantic" search at Powerset. I was an undergrad and masters student in the Stanford Symbolic Systems Program (cognitive science, more or less).

Some recent talks


(See also Google Scholar.) Other papers on my CV or Google Scholar.


  • MiTextExplorer: interactive exploration of text data and document covariates.
  • TweetNLP: tokenization and part-of-speech tagging for Twitter.
  • ARKref, a coreference resolution system.
  • ParseViz - quick and dirty parse tree/dependency visualization via graphviz.
  • tsvutils for tab-separated data processing
  • Other misc utilities (commandline, R, Python...)

Recent and not-so-recent news

2014 2013
  • Oct 9, 2013: invited talk at Univ. of Maryland at College Park, CLIP Colloquium (host: Philip Resnik). [slides]
  • Summer 2013: attended SOCS, NAACL, and ACL. See publications list for presentations/posters.
  • Apr 9: Thesis proposal has been proposed: "Statistical Text Analysis for Social Science."
  • Mar 22: invited speaker, Northeastern (Lazer Lab; host David Lazer)
  • Feb 25: invited speaker, Columbia NLP group (abstract)

Demos etc.

  • Inactive demos

    Elsewhere on the Internet

    Twitter, LinkedIn, Github


    My PGP key

    Random links: JK 1995

    Other O'Connors

    There are many Brendan O'Connors in the world. If this is the wrong webpage, you may be interested in another Brendan O'Connor – for example, My awesome sister, Maureen O'Connor, is a writer in New York.