Ali Zaidi

Contact Information

About Me

I’m a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I am interested in building robust systems for both programmers and non-programmers alike. My research spans the fields of Human-Computer Interaction, AI/ML, Natural Language Processing, and Distributed Systems.


University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2020-Present)

University of Wisconsin, Madison (2016-2020)

Ph.D in Computer Science

BS in Computer Science with Honors
BS in Mathematics

Current Research

App-Based Task Shortcuts for Virtual Assistants

Using machine learning and natural language processing to train mobile voice assistants in mapping task shortcuts to relevant application UI screens.


Investigating the usability of Smart IoT devices for the home integrated with distributed systems principles.

Past Research

Verbal Authoring of Human-Robot Interactions Using Templates

As part of my senior honors thesis, I explored the effectiveness of a dialogue-based robot behavior authoring system using natural language processing and program synthesis techniques.

Work Experience

Machine Learning Research Intern at UserTesting (Summer 2021)

Software Engineering Intern at Microsoft (Summer 2020)

Software Engineering Intern at Microsoft (Summer 2019)

Undergraduate Technical Intern at Intel (Summer 2018)

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