William Wang Assistant Professor

Bio: William Wang is the Director of UC Santa Barbara's Natural Language Processing group and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his PhD from School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. He has broad interests in machine learning approaches to data science, including statistical relational learning, information extraction, computational social science, speech, and vision. He has published more than 60 papers at leading NLP/AI/ML conferences and journals, and received best paper awards (or nominations) at ASRU 2013, CIKM 2013, and EMNLP 2015, a best reviewer award at NAACL 2015, a DARPA Young Faculty Award (Class of 2018), two IBM Faculty Awards in 2017 and 2018, a Facebook Research Award in 2018, an Adobe Research Award in 2018, and the Richard King Mellon Presidential Fellowship in 2011. He served as an Area Chair for NAACL, ACL, EMNLP, and AAAI. He is an alumnus of Columbia University, and a former research scientist intern of Yahoo! Labs, Microsoft Research Redmond, and University of Southern California. In addition to research, William enjoys writing scientific articles that impact the broader online community: his microblog @王威廉 has 100,000+ followers and more than 2,000,000 views each month. His work and opinions appear at major tech media outlets such as Wired, VICE, Fast Company, NASDAQ, The Next Web, Law.com, and Mental Floss.

Department of Computer Science
University of California, Santa Barbara
Harold Frank Hall, Room 1115
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

PhD, Carnegie Mellon University

Research Interests

  • Natural Language Processing
    • Information Extraction
    • Social Media
    • Language & Vision
    • Spoken Language Processing
  • Machine Learning
    • Statistical Relational Learning
    • Deep Learning
    • Structure Learning
    • Reinforcement Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence
    • Knowledge Representation & Reasoning
    • Knowledge Graphs


I am hiring a few talented PhD students to work with me. Please see my requirements above and check out an awesome video of UCSB.


Winter 2017 - CS190I: Introduction to NLP
Spring 2017 - CS292F: Deep Learning for NLP
Fall 2017 - CS40: Foundations of CS
Fall 2017 - CS595I: Advanced NLP/ML Seminar
Winter 2018 - CS291A: Deep Learning for NLP
Spring 2018 - CS165B: Machine Learning


  • 07/07/2017: Watch my recent UCSB interview.
  • 12/21/2018: I will serve as an Area Chair for Machine Learning at ACL 2019.
  • 11/06/2018: We have received a Tencent AI Lab Rhino-Bird Gift Fund. Thanks Tencent!
  • 11/06/2018: We have received two faculty research grants from Intel AI. Thank you Intel!
  • 11/01/2018: UCSB NLP group has two papers accepted to AAAI 2019. Congratulations Yijun, Xin, and Jiawei!
  • 10/08/2018: I will serve as Area Chair for Vision and Robotics at NAACL 2019.
  • 08/27/2018: We have received a new IBM Faculty Award (2018)! Thanks IBM.
  • 08/24/2018: Very honored to receive the 2018 DARPA Young Faculty Award.
  • 08/10/2018: We have 4 papers accepted to EMNLP 2018! Congrats Jing, Wenhan, Wenhu, Xin, and Vivek!
  • 07/03/2018: Our paper "Look Before You Leap: Bridging Model-Free and Model-Based Reinforcement Learning for Planned-Ahead Vision-and-Language Navigation" was accepted to ECCV 2018! Congrats Xin, Wenhan, and Hongmin.
  • 06/24/2018: Our lab has received an Amazon AWS Grant for Research. Thanks AWS!
  • 05/24/2018: Our lab receives a Facebook Research Award to work on low-resource machine translation and comparable corpora mining. Thanks Facebook!
  • 05/10/2018: I will serve as an area chair for AAAI 2019.
  • 04/27/2018: I will serve as an area chair in Information Extraction and Question Answering at EMNLP 2018!
  • 04/20/2018: We have five papers from my group accepted to ACL 2018! Congratulations Pengda (x2), Qingyu, Xin, Wenhu, Xianda!
  • 04/16/2018: Our paper "Scheduled Policy Optimization for Natural Language Communication with Intelligent Agents" with Wenhan Xiong, Xiaoxiao Guo, Mo Yu, Shiyu Chang, and Bowen Zhou was accepted to IJCAI-ECAI 2018.
  • 03/21/2018: Our paper "Hate Lingo: A Target-based Linguistic Analysis of Hate Speech in Social Media" with Mai Elsherief, Vivek Kulkarni, Dana Nguyen, and Elizabeth Belding was accepted to ICWSM 2018 as a full paper. This year, the acceptance rate is 16%.
  • 03/17/2018: Our lab receives an Adobe Research Award for language and vision research. Thanks Adobe!
  • 03/13/2018: Jiwei Li's new paper on artificial intelligence for scam ICO detection was covered by The Next Web and international media (Russian, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Vietnamese).
  • 03/08/2018: Liwei Cai has released the code for his KBGAN paper.
  • 03/03/2018: The Brookings Institution quoted our ACL 2017 paper on automated fake news detection. LINK PDF
  • 02/28/2018: We have two short papers accepted to NAACL 2018 conference! Congrats Jing, Mai, Elizabeth, Xin and Yuan-Fang!
  • 02/18/2018: Our paper "Video Captioning via Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning" was accepted to CVPR 2018. Congrats Xin, Wenhu, and Jiawei! PDF
  • 02/14/2018: We are excited to share the news that 4 long papers from UCSB NLP lab were accepted to the NAACL 2018 conference! Pre-prints coming soon.
  • 02/10/2018: Two tutorials accepted at major NLP conferences. Together with Jiwei Li (Stanford/Shannon.ai) and Xiaodong He (MSR), we will present a tutorial on "Deep Reinforcement Learning for NLP" at ACL 2018. Together with Xiang Ren (USC) and Nanyun Peng (USC/ISI), we will present a tutorial on Scalable Construction and Reasoning of Massive Knowledge Bases at NAACL 2018.
  • 02/03/2018: Will serve as Senior PC for IJCAI 2018, and PC member for KDD 2018 and ICML 2018.