Cecilia Ovesdotter Alm, Ph.D.

Word cloud for CC Alm


Associate Professor
ENGL, College of Liberal Arts
Rochester Institute of Technology
92 Lomb Memorial Dr.
Rochester, NY 14623
Office: Bldg. 6 (LBR), Room 2110
Phone: +1 (585) 475-7327
Email: coagla@rit.edu



Cecilia ("Cissi") Ovesdotter Alm, Ph.D., is a faculty member in computational linguistics and language science in RIT's College of Liberal Arts and ENGL. Additionally, she is among the extended faculty of the Ph.D. Program in Computing and Information Sciences and the faculty of the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences program. She is a founding director of CLaSP, the Computational Linguistics and Speech Processing lab group. Additionally, she is affiliated with MVRL and 3M Lab.

Recently, Cissi served as a faculty advisor, together with Marine Carpuat (UMD) and Mark Dredze (JHU), for the Student Research Workshop at ACL 2017. Presently, she is co-chair of the 2018 Workshop on Human-Centered Computational Sensing, which is co-located with PerCom 2018.

Cissi earned her doctoral degree in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (with a focus on computational linguistics/meaning), in addition to a Certificate of Advanced Study in Language and Speech Processing and a Certificate of Graduate Specialization in Computational Science and Engineering. Her Master's degree in Linguistics is from the same university. Before that, she studied English and American Studies and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Vienna where she also completed coursework in translation studies. 

Cissi's research focus is on linguistic and language-inclusive sensing with text, speech, and multimodal data for broad impact domains. She is the Principal Investigator of REU Site: Computational Sensing. Cissi is committed to supporting and mentoring students in her area of expertise, and she engages in transdisplinary work and co-mentoring.

A passionate teacher, Cissi offers undergraduate and graduate computational linguistics and language science courses. She is the advisor for the Human Language Technology & Computational Linguistics immersion and the Language Science minor/immersion. She is committed to experiential learning, diversity in and beyond the classroom, as well as internationalizing experiences that prepare students for the global context.

Besides the USA, Cissi has lived in Sweden, Great Britain, Austria, Spain, and Ecuador. She masters English, Swedish, Spanish, and German fluently. She has studied other languages, including some American Sign Language.

Cissi is married to Rubén Proaño and has three daughters (Mélida, Maya, Nuria) who are growing up in a trilingual home.

Link to CV.

Ten representative publications (an asterisk * highlights RIT students)

1. Cecilia O. Alm. 2009. Affect in Text and Speech. Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag

As technology and human-computer interaction advance, there is an increased interest in affective computing. One of the current challenges in computational speech and text processing is addressing affective and expressive meaning, an area that has received fairly sparse attention in linguistics. Linguistic investigation in this area is motivated both by the need for scientific study of subjective language phenomena, and by useful applications such as expressive text-to-speech synthesis. This work makes contributions to the study of affect and language by describing a novel data resource, outlining models and challenges for exploring affect in language, applying computational methods toward this problem with included empirical results, and suggesting paths for further research. The book should be particularly valuable for readers interested in language and affect, socioemotive aspects of language, subjective language phenomena, and computational semantics.

2. Saif Mohammad and Cecilia O. Alm. 2015. Computational analysis of affect and emotion in language. Tutorial at Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Lisbon, Portugal.

3. Cecilia O. Alm. 2016. Language as sensor in human-centered computing: Clinical contexts as use cases. Language & Linguistics Compass: Computational & Mathematical, 10(3): 105-119.

4. Xuan Guo*, Qi Yu, Cecilia O. Alm, Cara Calvelli, Jeff B. Pelz, Pengcheng Shi, and Anne R. Haake. 2014. From spoken narratives to domain knowledge: Mining linguistic data for medical image understanding. Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, 62(2): 79-90.

5. Cecilia O. Alm. 2012. The role of affect in the computational modeling of natural language. Language & Linguistics Compass: Computational & Mathematical, 6(7): 416-430.

6. Preethi Vaidyanathan*, Jeff B. Pelz, Emily Prud'hommeaux, Cecilia O. Alm, and Anne R. Haake. 2016. Fusing eye movements and observer narratives for expert-driven image-region annotations. In Proceedings of ETRA, pages 27-34, Charleston, South Carolina. Best paper award.

7. Nicolas Schrading*, Cecilia O. Alm, Ray Ptucha, and Christopher M. Homan. 2015. An analysis of domestic abuse discourse on Reddit. In Proceedings of the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, pages 2577-2583, Lisbon, Portugal.

8. Vasudev Bethamcherla*, Will Paul*, Cecilia O. Alm, Reynold Bailey, Joe Geigel, and Linwei Wang. 2015. Face-speech sensor fusion for non-invasive stress detection. In Proceedings of FAAVSP, pages 196-201, Vienna, Austria.

9. Joseph Bullard*, Cecilia O. Alm, Qi Yu, Pengcheng Shi, and Anne R. Haake. 2014. Towards multimodal modeling of physicians' diagnostic confidence and self-awareness using medical narratives. In Proceedings of COLING, the 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers, 1718?1727, Dublin, Ireland.

10. Limor Hochberg*, Cecilia O. Alm, Esa M. Rantanen, Caroline M. DeLong, and Anne R. Haake. 2014. Decision style in a clinical reasoning corpus. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing (at ACL 2014), pages 83-87, Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Alm in news


Cecilia Ovesdotter Alm, Ph.D.


Computational linguistics and speech processing lab


REU Site in Computational Sensing at Rochester Institute of Technology