Layla El Asri

I am a Research lead at Borealis AI in Montréal. I lead a team focused on NLP.

I completed a Ph.D. in computer science at Université de Lorraine in France in 2016. My Ph.D. was a joint project between Université de Lorraine and Orange Labs, the research and development branch of Orange, a French telecommunication company. My research focused on learning some of the parameters of reinforcement learning for dialogue systems. I proposed methods to learn a reward function from a set of dialogues which were rated by humans. I also worked on learning an interpretable representation of the state space.

After my PhD, I joined Maluuba, a Canadian startup, as a research scientist and I worked on user simulation and reinforcement learning for dialogue systems. I then became a team lead and led the data collection for the Frames dataset: a goal-oriented dialogue dataset. I joined Microsoft Research through the acquisition of Maluuba in 2017 as a research manager leading a team focused on dialogue research. The team worked on advancing the state-of-the-art as well as improving Microsoft products with dialogue capabilities.

My current research interests are mainly neural natural language generation and, in general, representation learning in NLP. Please use the contact form to reach out about available positions at Borealis AI.

I have signed the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence as well as the women in tech manifesto.