Susan Dumais

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Susan T. Dumais
Susan Dumais.jpg
Susan Dumais in 2009 in her office at Microsoft Research.
Born Maine, US
Nationality American
Fields Computer Science
Institutions Microsoft Research
Alma mater Indiana University
Bates College
Known for Human Computer Interaction
Information Retrieval
Notable awards ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award (2014)

Susan Dumais is a Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft and manager of the Context, Learning, and User Experience for Search (CLUES) Group of Microsoft Research. She is also an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington Information School.

Before joining Microsoft in 1997, Dumais was a researcher at Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies), where she and her colleagues conducted research into what is now called the vocabulary problem in information retrieval.[1] Their study demonstrated, through a variety of experiments, that different people use different vocabulary to describe the same thing, and that even choosing the "best" term to describe something is not enough for others to find it. One implication of this work is that because the author of a document may use different vocabulary than someone searching for the document, traditional information retrieval methods will have limited success.

Dumais and the other Bellcore researchers then began investigating ways to build search systems that avoided the vocabulary problem. The result was their invention of Latent Semantic Indexing.[2]

In 2006, Dumais was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2009, she received the Gerard Salton Award, an information retrieval lifetime achievement award. In 2011, she was inducted to the National Academy of Engineering for innovation and leadership in organizing, accessing, and interacting with information. In 2014, Dumais received the Athena Lecturer Award for "fundamental contributions to computer science.".[3] and the Tony Strix Award for "sustained contributions that are both innovative and practical" with "significant impact". [4]


  1. ^ G. W. Furnas, T. K. Landauer, L. M. Gomez, S. T. Dumais (1987). "The Vocabulary Problem in Human-System Communication". Communications of the ACM 30 (11): 964–971. doi:10.1145/32206.32212. 
  2. ^ S. Deerwester, Susan Dumais, G. W. Furnas, T. K. Landauer, R. Harshman (1990). "Indexing by Latent Semantic Analysis" (PDF). Journal of the American Society for Information Science 41 (6): 391–407. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4571(199009)41:6<391::AID-ASI1>3.0.CO;2-9. 
  3. ^ Knies, Rob (April 2014). "Dumais Receives Athena Lecturer Award". Inside Microsoft Research. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "The winner of the 2014 Tony Kent Strix Award is Dr Susan Dumais". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 

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