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Emre Kiciman

I am a senior researcher at Microsoft Research in the CLUES group.

I'm broadly interested in using social data to help people find what they want and need; and to this end my work drives towards the goal of extracting from social media useful models of how people behave in the world --- people's actions in the world, people's interactions with each other, and the consequences of people's decisions. There are three questions I'm addressing with my research:

  1. Foundations and infrastructure for better social media analysis: I'm building tools and frameworks to make it easier and faster for people to deeply analyze and explore social media.
  2. Connecting social media to the real-world: To interpret social media, I work on entity linking and study the systematic biases inherent in social media's reflection of the world.
  3. Social systems engineering: I'm studying how the affordances and incentives provided by social systems affect the kinds of information we find in social media.

My previous research interests include JavaScript application monitoring and optimization, as well as improving the reliability of Internet services architectures and operations. I received my Ph.D. and my M.S. from Stanford University, and my B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley.


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Quantified All: My primary project focuses on mining information about people's actions and their outcomes from social media.  The goal is to build a large-scale knowledge base of actions that can be used to help people with decision-making, planning, reviewing, and goal achievement.

Social Media Bias: I'm interested in experiments and studies of self-reporting, population and other biases.

Heterogeneous-Intent Networks: Recognizing that people’s motivation for participating in social networks varies greatly (fame, friends, commercial, ...), we study the implications of heterogeneous intent for modeling information diffusion in social networks.


Past projects

U Rank, a search engine front end to support light-weight search editing and sharing. U Rank was prototyped externally in October 2008. [readwriteweb|pcworld|seattlepi]

The Social Web Experience browser toolbar analyzes Web pages and finds related content from your social networks. Your friends' recent status updates and messages, favorite movies, interests, and other profile information are shown when its related to what you're seeing on the Web.  This project motivated our work on entity recognition in social media, now in use in several products at Microsoft.

AjaxScope, aka AjaxView, is a tool that allows web app developers to efficiently monitor the real-world, in-browser behavior of their JavaScript code without special browser plugins or extensions. We have an SOSP paper about the project and released our research prototype. AjaxScope also became Visual Studio 2008 AJAX Profiling Extensions Power Tool (say that 3 times fast!).

Doloto is a system that analyzes application workloads and automatically performs code splitting of existing large Web 2.0 applications. Doloto improves page-load times for large complex web applications by 20-40%. See our FSE paper and download the prototype at DevLabs.

Internet service architectures and operations: Internally, I've also worked on surveying and collecting best-practices and lessons from the architectures, operations and reliability of Microsoft's large-scale Internet services.

KISS: The "Keeping Information Safe from Social networking apps" project protects the privacy of user data from untrusted 3rd-parties.  A combination of information flow control, sandboxing and differential privacy, implemented across a cloud hosting infrastructure and web app framework enforces strong limits on how user data can be used by application providers.

Application-level fault detection and diagnosis in large-scale internet services:  My PhD was on using machine learning to detect and diagnose  high-level application faults in Internet services. I continued this work at MSR, with more of an end-to-end perspective, looking at wide-area network failures as well as web application challenges.

Recent Talks

MSR Latin American Faculty Summit, May 7, 2014.  "Discussion Graphs: Putting Social Media in Context" [Slides, Video]

Workshop on a Digital Dynamic Earth, Mapping Science Committee, National Research Council, April 21, 2014.  "Social Media Models".  [Slides]

AAAI-13 Spotlight Talk on ICWSM, July 17.  I gave a talk reviewing the conference and current open challenges being addressed in the community. 

MSR Machine Learning Summit, Apr 23, 2013.  "Investigating Bias and Incentives in Social Media".  [Slides]

CHI-2013 Tutorial, Apr 30, 2013.  "Analyzing Social Media Systems". [Slides]

UIUC DAIS Seminar, Oct 17th, 2012. "Querying Human Activities from Social Media Traces".  In this talk, I discuss bias and external influences on social media.

Rutgers Yahoo Data Science Seminar, Feb 22, 2012.  "Learning about the world through social media"

Berkeley Cloud Seminar, Feb 13, 2012.  "Learning about the world through social media"


A selection of my systems research papers

Emre Kıcıman and Ben Livshits, AjaxScope: A Platform for Remotely Monitoring the Client-side Behavior of Web 2.0 Applications, in the 21st ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP'07), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., October 2007.

Benjamin Livshits and Emre Kıcıman, Doloto: Code Splitting for Network-Bound Web 2.0 Applications, in Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., November 2008.

Chad Verbowski, Emre Kıcıman, Brad Daniels, Arunvijay Kumar, Yi-Min Wang, Roussi Roussev, Shan Lu, and Juhan Lee, Flight Data Recorder: Always-on Tracing and Scalable Analysis of Persistent State Interactions to Improve Systems and Security Management, in The 7th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI '06), USENIX, November 2006.

Emre Kıcıman, Benjamin Livshits, Madanlal Musuvathi, and Kevin C. Webb, Fluxo: A System for Internet Service Programming by Non-expert Developers, in ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., 2010.



Intl Conf. on Weblogs and Social Media (Steering committee chair; Senior PC 2015, 2014; General Chair 2013; PC 2012, 2011)

KDD 2015, PC.

WWW 2015 (Crowdsourcing and Social Media track) 2014, 2013, Social Networks and Graph Analysis track, TPC.

WSDM 2015, 2012, PC; Workshop on Language in Social Media (LSM 2011, 2012) PC; Symp. on Cloud Computing (SOCC 2011) PC; Intl. Conf. on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN 2010,2011) PC; Usenix Webapps (WebApps 2011, 2012) PC; Intl. Conf. on Autonomic Computing (ICAC 2008-2012) PC, PC Chair in 2010.

I also co-founded the SysML series of workshops (now SLAML) and taught a reading course at UW on applying machine learning techniques to systems problems. CSE 599N home page.

Recent Publications


Emre Kıcıman, Towards Learning a Knowledge Base of Actions from Experiential Microblogs, in AAAI Spring Symposium on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, AAAI - Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, 23 March 2015.


Emre Kıcıman, Scott Counts, Michael Gamon, Munmun De Choudhury, and Bo Thiesson, Discussion Graphs: Putting Social Media Analysis in Context, in Intl. Conf. on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM-14), AAAI, 2 June 2014.

Fernando Diaz, Michael Gamon, Jake Hofman, Emre Kiciman, and David Rothschild, Online and social media data as a flawed continuous panel survey, 15 May 2014.

Abhimanyu Das, Sreenivas Gollapudi, and Emre Kıcıman, Effect of Persuasion on Information Diffusion in Social Networks, no. MSR-TR-2014-69, May 2014.

Yuzhe Jin, Emre Kıcıman, Kuansan Wang, and Ricky Loynd, Entity Linking at the Tail: Sparse Signals, Unknown Entities and Phrase Models, in The 7th ACM Web Search and Data Mining Conference (WSDM 2014), ACM, 24 February 2014.


Andres Monroy-Hernandez, Shelly Farnham, Emre Kiciman, Munmun De Choudhury, and Scott Counts, Smart societies: from citizens as sensors to collective action, in interactions, ACM, July 2013.

Stephen Guo, Ming-Wei Chang, and Emre Kiciman, To Link or Not to Link? A Study on End-to-End Tweet Entity Linking, in NAACL-HLT 2013, 10 June 2013.

Yuzhe Jin, Kuansan Wang, and Emre Kıcıman, Sparse Lexical Representation for Semantic Entity Resolution, in ICASSP 2013, IEEE, 26 May 2013.

Andres Monroy-Hernandez, danah boyd, Emre Kıcıman, Munmun De Choudhury, and Scott Counts, The New War Correspondents: The Rise of Civic Media Curation in Urban Warfare, in The 16th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW), ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 23 February 2013.

Chun-Kai Wang, Paul Hsu, Ming-Wei Chang, and Emre Kıcıman, Simple and Knowledge-intensive Generative Model for Named Entity Recognition, no. MSR-TR-2013-3, 4 January 2013.


Huizhong Duan, Emre Kıcıman, and Chengxiang Zhai, Click Patterns: An Empirical Representation of Complex Query Intents, in 21st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2012), ACM, 29 October 2012.

Bimal Viswanath, Emre Kıcıman, and Stefan Saroiu, Keeping Information Safe from Social Networking Apps, in Proceedings of the Workshop on Online Social Networks (WOSN'12), ACM, 17 August 2012.

All my publications...



Contact Info:


Emre Kıcıman

Microsoft Corporation

One Microsoft Way

Redmond, WA  98052 

Office Phone: 

+1 (425) 705-3659