Lee Becker

I am a Principal AI/ML Engineer in the AI Engineering labs at the Educational Testing Service (ETS).  Currently, I am also developing AI solutions to tailor feedback on student writing based not only on the content of their writing, but also on other factors including their skills, learning goals, and needs.  In addition to working on a project team, I also manage a mix of AI/ML engineers, NLP engineers and Data engineers, and I have been leading strategy for building capabilities to support personalization and adaptivity in our educational experiences.  A builder at heart, I engage in the full spectrum of activities required to build machine learning and NLP solutions from data collection, model training and experimentation to deployment.  I enjoy writing software, and I highly value producing reusable, maintainable code.

Previously I was a Principal Research Scientist who lead a team of researchers and software engineers in Pearson’s AI Products and Solutions division.  My research with Pearson focused on using natural language processing to build useful educational applications and technologies.  Examples include exploration of transfer learning and active learning for automated writing assessment, development of NLP algorithms for analyzing essays and providing feedback to students and designing a mobile tutoring app for English Language Learning.  

At Hapara, I headed up efforts to transform Hapara Analytics from an initial idea to a full-fledged product. Prior to joining Hapara, I worked as a research scientist for Avaya Labs, where I investigated applications of text processing for social media analysis and automating contact center interactions.

Before returning to industry, I completed a joint PhD in Computer Science and Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder with a focus on natural language processing. My thesis centered on developing richer representations of dialogue to enable improved automation and characterization of interactions such as those found in intelligent tutoring systems. While there, I also carried out research in educational data mining, question generation, and relation extraction for clinical texts.

My non-career career revolves around training, teaching documenting and promoting the Indonesian art of Pencak Silat.   I run a small silat school here in Boulder and I also serve as the Secretary General for the United States Sport Silat Association (USSSA) the governing body for sport silat in the USA.