I develop and study statistical machine learning systems with applications in human language, biology, and social science. Currently, I am most excited about using these technologies to help people learn languages and make music.

Pretentious 3rd-Person Bio: Burr Settles leads the research group at Duolingo, an award-winning website and mobile app offering free language education for the world. He also runs FAWM.ORG, a global annual songwriting experiment. He is the author of Active Learning — an introductory text on machine learning algorithms that are adaptive, curious, and exploratory (if you will). His research has been published in NIPS, ICML, AAAI, ACL, EMNLP, NAACL-HLT, and CHI, and has been covered by The New York Times, Slate, and the BBC among others. In past lives, he was a postdoc at Carnegie Mellon and earned a PhD from UW-Madison. Burr currently lives in Pittsburgh, where he gets around by bike and plays guitar in the pop band delicious pastries. ♥


  • Active Learning Book
    B. Settles
    Morgan & Claypool, 2012
    A short introductory text on active learning, a subfield of machine learning and artificial intelligence. For researchers, graduate students, and engineers working in computer science, statistics, psychology, and related fields.
    publisher's website · Amazon.com · active-learning.net
  • A Trainable Spaced Repetition Model for Language Learning
    B. Settles and B. Meeder
    Proceedings of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL), 2016
    pdf · code+data · Duolingo
  • Self-directed Learning Favors Local, Rather Than Global, Uncertainty
    D.B. Markant, B. Settles, and T.M. Gureckis
    Cognitive Science, 2015
    pdf · publisher's website
  • Let's Get Together: The Formation and Success of Online Creative Collaborations
    B. Settles and S. Dow
    Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2013
    pdf · video · blog post
  • Learning from Human-Generated Lists
    K.S. Jun, X. Zhu, B. Settles, and T.T. Rogers
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), 2013
    pdf · video · blog post
  • Closing the Loop: Fast, Interactive Semi-Supervised Annotation With Queries on Features and Instances
    B. Settles
    Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), 2011
    pdf · software
  • Toward an Architecture for Never-Ending Language Learning
    A. Carlson, J. Betteridge, B. Kisiel, B. Settles, E.R. Hruschka Jr. and T.M. Mitchell
    National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2010
    pdf · supplementary data

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