• Assistant Professor
  • Smith College
  • Department of
  • Computer Science


My research is focused on building and studying intelligent computing systems that demonstrate a human-like capability for in-depth understanding and production of natural language, and thus can achieve richer interactions with human users.

I am especially keen on building systems that decompose the meaning of language into complex conceptual structures that reflect humans' embodied cognition, memory, imagery, and knowledge about social situations. I use crowdsourcing and machine learning techniques to build these systems to scale, but I also often craft systems by hand because it can tell us how to use crowds and machine learning methods better.

Because these systems can comprehend narratives and participate in discourse, I use them to support safe and positive experiences for users of social media platforms, and to prevent the spread of harmful behaviors on them. I perform system evaluations and empirical studies with human participants using qualitative and quantitative methods.


* Dylan Holmes, Leilani Gilpin, and I are organizing Story-Enabled Intelligence, a symposium in the AAAI Spring Symposium Series to be held at Stanford, CA, March 25–27, 2019. See here for more information.

* Our paper, "Monitoring Scene Understanders with Conceptual Primitive Decomposition and Commonsense Knowledge", was accepted for oral presentation at Advances in Cognitive Systems at Stanford, CA, August 18-21, 2018, and appears in the sixth volume of the Advances in Cognitive Systems journal.

* Our paper, "Exploring Connections Between Decomposition of Language and Hierarchical Planning", was presented as a poster at Advances in Cognitive Systems at Stanford, CA, August 18-21, 2018.

* I spent this past summer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC as part of the 2018 Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Research Program. Much thanks to my hosts, Mark "Mak" Roberts and David Aha, and to the ONR for funding our projects.


We are recruiting undergraduate and graduate students for research assistantships and other research collaboration opportunities. Please contact me if you are hard-working, self-starting, and interested in these topics. Here is a list of my past and present student research collaborators:

  • Jung Soo Kim, Fairfield
  • Brian Yu, Harvard
  • Martin Winton, MIT
  • Sandra Grandic, Fairfield
  • Zachary Ervin, Fairfield
  • Marydjina Barionnette, Fairfield
  • Ting Li, Fairfield


  • Fall 2018, CS330: AI Seminar: Natural Language Understanding
  • Fall 2018, CS252: Algorithms
  • Spring 2018, CS131: Fundamentals of Programming, Fairfield (3 Sections)
  • Spring 2017, CS131: Fundamentals of Programming, Fairfield (3 Sections)
  • Fall 2016, CS101: Introduction to Computing, Fairfield
  • Fall 2016, SW407: Java for Programmers, Fairfield
  • Fall 2016, SW550/SW551: Capstone Project I/II, Fairfield
  • Spring 2016, CS131: Fundamentals of Programming, Fairfield (2 Sections)
  • Fall 2015, SW407: Java for Programmers, Fairfield
  • Fall 2015, CS101: Introduction to Computing, Fairfield


I am an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Smith College, and an affiliate of Columbia's SAFElab and MIT CSAIL. Previously I was an assistant professor of computer science in the School of Engineering at Fairfield University, a postdoctoral fellow at Clemson University, and a postdoctoral research associate at MIT.

I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA, an M.S. in Physics from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Mathematical Physics from Brown University. My broad interests are in artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction, and I am a member of the ACM, AAAI, IEEE, and HFES.

[ Publications | CV ]


  • Email:
  • jamie.macbeth [at] gmail.com

  • Twitter:
  • @jamie_macbeth

  • Skype:
  • jamie.macbeth1
  • Mail:
  • Department of
  • Computer Science
  • Clark Science Center
  • Smith College
  • Northampton MA 01063
  • Office:
  • Ford Hall Room 252