Elif Aktolga

School of Computer Science
140 Governors Drive
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
Room 366
Email: use my first name before the at sign and cs, umass, and edu separated by dots after it.

I was a PhD student in the CIIR lab working with Prof. James Allan. My thesis is about the bias-specific diversification of search results for non-topical dimensions such as sentiments and time.

I am interested in solving real world problems in Information Retrieval and Natural Language Processing. I have worked in question answering, passage retrieval, language modeling, sentiment analysis, sparse queries, personalization, outlier detection, and diversification.

Here is an information retrieval (IR) glossary for new IR students.


I spent the summer of 2011 at Yahoo! Search working with great researchers in the User Intent Analysis team.

I developed algorithms for the Misfit Mode in IBM Many Bills at the Visual Communication Lab of the IBM Watson Research Center during the summer of 2010. I am very happy to see my work go into production!


[9] Kong, W., Aktolga, E., and Allan, J. Improving Passage Ranking with User Behavior Information, CIKM 2013, pp. 1999-2008.

[8] Aktolga, E., and Allan, J. Sentiment Diversification With Different Biases, SIGIR 2013, pp. 593-602.

[7] Aktolga, E., Jain, A., and Velipasaoglu, E., Building Rich User Search Queries Profiles, UMAP 2013, pp. 254-266.

[6] Aktolga, E. and Allan, J., Reranking Search Results for Sparse Queries, CIKM 2011, pp. 173-183.

[5] Aktolga, E., Ros, I., Assogba, Y. and DiMicco, J., Many Bills: Visualizing the Anatomy of Congressional Legislation, Workshop on Scalable Integration of Analytics and Visualization, AAAI 2011, pp. 2-7.

[4] Aktolga, E., Ros, I. and Assogba, Y., Detecting Outlier Sections in US Congressional Legislation, SIGIR 2011, pp. 235-244.

[3] Aktolga, E., Allan, J. and Smith, D., Passage Reranking for Question Answering Using Syntactic Structures and Answer Types, ECIR 2011, pp. 617-628.

[2] Cartright, M., Aktolga, E. and Dalton, J., Characterizing the Subjectivity of Topics, SIGIR 2009, pp. 642-643.

[1] Aktolga, E., Cartright, M. and Allan, J., Cross-Document Cross-Lingual Coreference Retrieval, CIKM 2008, pp. 1359-1360.


  1. Elif Aktolga. Integrating Non-Topical Aspects into Information Retrieval. PhD Thesis, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA, 2014. PDF
  2. Elif Aktolga. Pattern Matching Strategies for Peephole Optimisation. MRes Thesis, University of Sussex, UK, 2005. PDF
  3. Elif Aktolga. A Java Planner for Blocksworld Problems. BSc Thesis, University of Osnabrueck, Germany, 2004. PDF

Last modification: March 25, 2014