Jesse standing in front of a desert landscape at Caral
 

Hi there! I'm Jesse Dunietz, an AI researcher/​consultant, science communication trainer, and science writer.

I work to magnify the impact of STEM research, especially in computer science.

 

Hi there! I'm Jesse Dunietz, an AI researcher/​consultant, science communication trainer, and science writer.

I work to magnify the impact of STEM research, especially in computer science.

Who's this Jesse fellow?

I like to have fingers in many pies.

Currently, I wear three main hats:

Researcher at Elemental Cognition

I work to define the metrics for the company's foundational AI research, to translate that research into real-world applications, and to build the company's public presence.

Instructional designer at the MIT Communication Lab

I train STEM graduate students to coach their peers in scientific communication. Ultimately, that helps scientists and engineers maximize the benefits of their work for stakeholders.

Occasional freelance science writer

I write pieces that help thousands of people understand and appreciate ideas from computer science and physics that underlie current and future technologies.

I also do a few other odds and ends, such as volunteering for ICAAD and the SciComm Trainers Network.

Oh, and as many friends can attest, I am easily distracted by birds.

How'd he end up doing all that?

A bit about my professional background

Education:

I hold a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, where I focused on natural language processing (NLP).

My bachelor's, also in computer science, is from MIT.

I spent my junior year at the University of Cambridge, where I did irritatingly American things like ask questions in lectures.

Technical work history:

Before my current role at Elemental Cognition, I worked or interned at Google, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, NASA/Johns Hopkins APL, and Tiverias Apps (creator of GPush), as well as various MIT AI research labs.

Science communication work:

I've designed and run science communication trainings for Public Communication for Researchers at Carnegie Mellon (which I co-founded), the national ComSciCon workshop, the MIT Communication Lab, the AAAS Annual Meeting, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and Carnegie Mellon's computer science faculty, among others.

I've also done some science writing of my own as a freelancer, a AAAS Mass Media Fellow, and a fellow at Securing America's Future Energy (an energy think tank). My writing has appeared in Scientific American, Undark, Popular Mechanics, Motherboard, Nautilus, and the SciShow and It's Okay To Be Smart YouTube channels.

View my full resume

What can he do for me?

I love to put my expertise to work to help others, both in computer science and in communication!

Services I offer include:

Consulting on AI

Drawing on my personal experience with AI research, I provide high-level insights about how today's AI tools work, what they're good for, and what they're not so good for. I specialize in making this knowledge accessible and actionable for non-technical professionals.

Past beneficiaries have included Mad*Pow and ICAAD.

Science Writing

I write stories and video scripts that shed light on key ideas in computer science, math, and physics. Generally these are stories I find myself, but feel free to reach out if there's a story you think I'd like to tell.

This does not include press releases. Please do not send me press releases. I do not write stories about products or even generally about individual studies.

Science Communication Workshops

I help scientists and engineers become better communicators with each other, the media, and the general public. I've trained graduate students at MIT and Carnegie Mellon, CMU alumni, Botany in Action graduate fellows, AAAS Annual Meeting attendees, and even CMU's computer science faculty.

Possible topics include just about any aspect of communicating about STEM. Example titles: How to be a Science Blogger, Talking to the Media, Crafting Explanatory Metaphors, and Becoming a PowerPoint Wizard.

Workshops are highly interactive and extensively customized for each audience.

I'm always on the lookout for interesting ways to be useful, whether or not they fit into the buckets above. If you've got a need, opportunity, or idea you think might be up my alley, please do reach out!

Get in touch

What's he done in AI and NLP?

Current Work

At Elemental Cognition, I currently work on developing rigorous evaluations for machine reading comprehension systems. Some of the ideas I've been working on were written up in a 2020 ACL paper.

I am also a volunteer advisor to ICAAD, a human rights NGO. I help the organization think through how human rights work and AI interact, particularly how AI can be both leveraged and guided to make it more beneficial for society.


Ph.D. Work

As a Ph.D. student, I studied methods for extracting semantic representations from natural-language text. I particularly looked for ways to incorporate linguistic analysis and insights into natural language technologies, most notably the principles of Construction Grammar.

I developed an annotation scheme and associated corpus called BECAUSE, which annotated the cause-and-effect relations stated by a text. The scheme was designed to represent explicit causal relations expressed by nearly any construction, not just conventional lexical items.

I also developed two systems for automatically extracting and classifying relations in the BECAUSE scheme: Causeway, a tagger involving learned lexico-syntactic patterns and feature-engineered classifiers, and DeepCx, a neural transition-based tagger.


Publications

Check Google Scholar for a complete and up-to-date list of my publications.

  • Dunietz, Jesse, Gregory Burnham, Akash Bharadwaj, Jennifer Chu-Carroll, Owen Rambow, David Ferrucci." To Test Machine Comprehension, Start by Defining Comprehension." ACL 2020. PDF Presentation
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "DeepCx: A transition-based approach for shallow semantic parsing with complex constructional triggers." EMNLP 2018. PDF Slides
  • Thesis: Dunietz, Jesse. Annotating and Automatically Tagging Constructions of Causal Language (2018). Ph.D. thesis, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "The BECauSE Corpus 2.0: Annotating Causality and Overlapping Relations." LAW XI – The 11th Linguistic Annotation Workshop (2017). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "Automatically Tagging Constructions of Causation and Their Slot-Fillers." Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2017). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "Annotating Causal Language Using Corpus Lexicography of Constructions." Proceedings of LAW IX – The 9th Linguistic Annotation Workshop (2015). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, and Dan Gillick. "A New Entity Salience Task with Millions of Training Examples." EACL 2014. PDF
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "The Effects of Lexical Resource Quality on Preference Violation Detection." ACL 2013. PDF Slides

Non-Archival Publications

  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Miriam R. L. Petruck. "Construction Detection in a Conventional NLP Pipeline." AAAI Spring Symposium Technical Report SS-17-02: Computational Construction Grammar and Natural Language Understanding (2017). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse. "PyDecay/GraphPhys: A Unified Language and Storage System for Particle Decay Process Descriptions." Accepted for publication in DOE Journal of Undergraduate Research, Vol. XI (canceled for funding reasons). Presented as a student poster at the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting. PDF Poster

What's all this about "science communication?"

My Scicomm Story

As a wandering first-year Ph.D. student, I attended a talk at the Carnegie Science Center by John Radzilowicz about the so-called "war on science." John kept emphasizing that scientists needed to do better as accessible and relatable public communicators. In the Q&A, another grad student said he'd love to—if only someone would teach him how! That was the moment the Public Communication for Researchers (PCR) program at Carnegie Mellon was born.

My fellow CMU grad students Ardon Shorr and Adona Iosif joined me in building the training program we wished we'd had access to ourselves. We assembled hands-on workshops with communication experts, practice opportunities, and a supportive community of interested students. We started a group blog and hosted two Story Collider shows. We also pushed for university-run programming of the sort we were offering.

In the process, we became thoroughly enmeshed in the science communication community.

Scicomm Training Work

  • In 2013, I attended the first-ever national ComSciCon conference for graduate student leaders in science communication. In 2014 and 2015, I served on the organizing committee, arranging speakers and hands-on communication training activities for attendees.
  • I co-presented several workshops on scientific and technical presentations for the CMU Alumni Association (webinars), the AAAS Annual Meeting (conference sessions), and participants in the University of Pittsburgh's iSchool Inclusion Institute (workshops).
  • I co-presented two workshops for CMU computer science faculty on being a public intellectual and talking to the media.
  • I taught a workshop on science blogging for graduate botany fellows at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
  • Beginning in 2018, I have worked part-time with the MIT Communication Lab. The program offers peer coaching by STEM graduate students for other students in MIT's engineering departments. I develop the trainings for the peer coaches. I also helped run a study, published in ASEE, evaluating the efficacy of our coaching.
  • I am a member of the nascent SciComm Trainers Network. Since October 2019, I have been actively participating in efforts to get the network's activities off the ground.

Get in touch about scicomm training

Science Writing

I began blogging and later doing paid freelance work as a Ph.D. student. I have since carved out a niche writing about complex topics in computer science and physics.

Some of my writing experiences:

  • In 2017, I was a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Scientific American.
  • After graduating from my Ph.D., I was a Technology, Energy, and Society Fellow at Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), an energy policy think tank. SAFE sponsored me to write for various outlets about autonomous vehicles.
  • I continue to freelance, particularly for YouTube outlets such as SciShow and It's Okay To Be Smart.
  • At Elemental Cognition, I help craft the company's outward-facing communications, including whitepapers, blog posts, social media, and technical papers.

Check out my full writing portfolio

Contact

Is there something you'd like to chat about? Something I can help you with?
Please don't hesitate to get in touch!

I live in New Haven, CT, but the easiest way to contact me is by email.

Drop me a note