Shashank Srivastava

I am an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at UNC Chapel Hill starting Jan 2020

I am looking for motivated PhD students at the intersection of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.


I do research on natural language processing, with special interests in grounding language in perception, semantic parsing, neuro-symbolic methods, and interactive machine learning.

In 2018-19, I was an AI Resident at Microsoft Research in Redmond. Till 2018, I was a graduate student in the Machine Learning Department at CMU. My dissertation research with Tom Mitchell focused on teaching machines new tasks through natural language supervision; and is a thrust towards a new direction of Conversational Machine Learning. I co-organized the first workshop on Learning by Instruction at NeurIPS 2018.

Previously, I worked on models of computational semantics with Ed Hovy and emergence of compositional language in artificial agents with Harish Karnick.

I am generally interested in machine intelligence, language, AI and story-telling.

I graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Once upon a time, I did bad things with other people's money at Tower Research Capital.

CV Research Statement

Selected Publications:

  • Learning Web-based procedures by Reasoning over Explanations and Demonstrations in Context

S Srivastava, A Polozov, N Jojic, C Meek

ACL 2020 (To appear)

  • An Agent for Learning New Natural Language Commands

A Azaria, S Srivastava, J Krishnamurthy, I Labutov, T Mitchell


  • Learning to Ask for Conversational Machine Learning

S Srivastava, I Labutov, T Mitchell

EMNLP 2019

  • Teaching Machines to Classify from Natural Language Interactions

S Srivastava

PhD Thesis, CMU 2018


  • A Spatial Model for Extracting and Visualizing Latent Discourse Structure in Text

S Srivastava, N Jojic

ACL 2018


  • Zero-shot Learning of Classifiers from Natural Language Quantification

S Srivastava, I Labutov, T Mitchell

ACL 2018


  • LIA: A Natural Language Programmable Personal Assistant

I Labutov, S Srivastava, T Mitchell

EMNLP 2018 (System Demos)

PDF Demo

  • Where have I heard this story before? : Identifying Narrative Similarity in Movie Remakes'

S Chaturvedi, S Srivastava, D Roth

NAACL 2018 (short)


  • Learning Classifiers from Declarative Language

S Srivastava, I Labutov, T Mitchell

NIPS Workshop on Learning from Limited Data 2017


  • Joint Concept Learning and Semantic Parsing from Natural Language Explanations

S Srivastava, I Labutov, T Mitchell

EMNLP 2017


  • Parsing Natural Language Conversations with Contextual Cues

S Srivastava, A Azaria, T Mitchell

IJCAI 2017


  • Inferring Interpersonal Relations in Narrative Summaries

S Srivastava, S Chaturvedi, T Mitchell

AAAI 2016


  • Modeling Evolving Relationships Between Characters in Literary Novels

S Chaturvedi, S Srivastava, H Daume, C Dyer

AAAI 2016


  • CMU-ML System for KBP Cold Start Slot Filling

B Kisiel, B McDowell, M Gardner, N Nakashole, E Platanios, A Saparov, S Srivastava, D Wijaya, T Mitchell

TAC 2015


  • Vector-space semantics with frequency driven motifs

S Srivastava, E Hovy

ACL 2014


  • Spatial Compactness meets Topical Consistency: Jointly modeling link and content for community detection

M Sachan, A Dubey, S Srivastava, EP Xing, E Hovy

WSDM 2014


  • A Semantically Enriched Tree Kernel Over Distributed Word Representations

S Srivastava, D Hovy, E Hovy

EMNLP 2013 (short)


  • A Structured Distributional Semantic Model for Event Co-reference

K Goyal*, S Jauhar*, H Li*, M Sachan*, S Srivastava*, E Hovy

ACL 2013 (short)

(* equally contributing)


  • Identifying Metaphorical Word Use with Tree Kernels

D Hovy, S Srivastava, S Jauhar, M Sachan, K Goyal, H Li, E Hovy

NAACL-HLT Meta4NLP Workshop 2013


  • A Structured Distributional Semantic Model : Integrating Structure with Semantics

K Goyal, S Jauhar, S Srivastava, M Sachan, H Li, E Hovy

Workshop on Continuous Vector Space Models and their Compositionality, ACL 2013


  • A Topical graph-kernel for Link Prediction in Labeled Graphs

S Chaturvedi, H Daume III, T Moon, S Srivastava

ICML Workshop on Mining and Learning with Graphs (MLG) 2012


  • Evolution of Compositional Languages in Multiple Agent Social Communities

S Srivastava

MTech Thesis, IIT Kanpur, Sep 2010