• Associate 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.


* I am excited to announce that have been awarded a grant from the Toyota Research Institute as part of their Young Faculty Researcher program. The grant will provide about $500K of funding for my research over the next two years. I and a number of Smith students and alums will be collaborating on research projects with members of the Machine-Assisted Cognition group at TRI. Here's a link to a Grécourt Gate story with more info.

* I was a guest recently on an episode of the TWIML AI podcast.

* I am spending a second year as a visiting scholar at MIT CSAIL, participating in the MIT Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professors and Scholars Program. I am honored to have Gerald Sussman, the Genesis Group, and CSAIL's Cognitive AI CoR as my hosts. You can find a recording of my MIT MLK Scholar Luncheon talk here: https://youtu.be/a0LvwYXi8xo.

* Our paper "A Broader Range for ‘Meaning the Same Thing’: Human Against Machine on Hard Paraphrase Detection Tasks" was presented at at The Eighth Annual Conference on Advances in Cognitive Systems (ACS-2020). A YouTube video of the talk is here. I also served on an ACS-2020 panel discussion entitled "How to Prepare the Next Generation of Cognitive Systems Researchers".


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.


  • Spring 2021, CS390: AI Seminar: Natural Language Understanding
  • Fall 2020, CS231: Microprocessors & Assembly Language
  • Spring 2019, CS330: Seminar in Database Systems
  • Spring 2019, CS256: Intelligent User Interfaces
  • Fall 2018, CS390: 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 associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Smith College, an adjunct assistant professor at UMass Amherst CICS, and an affiliate of MIT CSAIL and Columbia's SAFElab. Previously my title was Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Elizabeth DeCamp McInerny Professor of Health Sciences in the School of Engineering at Fairfield University. In 2018 I was named Graduate Teacher of the Year at Fairfield University by Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Jesuit Honor Society. I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA, 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 (Smith):
  • Department of
  • Computer Science
  • Clark Science Center
  • Smith College
  • Northampton MA 01063
  • Office (MIT):
  • Computer Science &
  • Artificial Intelligence Lab
  • Ray and Maria Stata
  • Center, Room 32-258
  • Office (Smith):
  • Ford Hall Room 252