Pedro Rodriguez

PhD Candidate in
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing

About Pedro

I am a 5th year PhD candidate in Computer Science at the University of Maryland at College Park. I work in the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing (CLIP) Lab with Jordan Boyd-Graber. My research interests center around creating datasets and machine-learning models for knowledge-centered natural language processing. In particular, I am interested in question answering and conversational information-seeking. I expect to graduate from the PhD program between December 2020 and May 2021. In my free time, I am an avid skier, climber, and hiker.

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Industry Experience

Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies I have interned extensively and accumulated over three years of industry experience. I was a research intern at Google AI-Z├╝rich working on question answering and fact verification during Winter 2019/20. At Facebook Conversational AI I worked on conversational information seeking (paper in-submission). During summer 2018 I was a resarch intern at Microsoft Research in the Information and Data Science Group. I was a data science intern at Riot Games and Oracle/Datalogix. Prior to starting my PhD, I was a data scientist at Zillow Group/Trulia.


I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in December 2014. During my undergraduate degree, I was a research assistant in UC Berkeley's AMPLab, UC Berkeley's Astronomy Department, and Boise State University's Cryosphere Group.


  • ACL 2021 Sub-committee Co-Chair for Diversity and Inclusion
  • NAACL 2021 Reviewer
  • EMNLP 2020 Secondary Reviewer
  • ACL 2019 Secondary Reviewer
  • Founding member and former captain of the Colorado Data Science Team.

Certifications and Professional Organizations

QANTA (our system) vs Top Quiz Bowl Team

I led the development of an AI (Qanta) system that defeated some of the best Quiz Bowl players in the world (see video below).

Our system defeat a strong team of human players 260-215 during our exhibition match at the 2017 Quiz Bowl high school national championships. Note that we did not play against high school students, the opposing team were comprised of tournament organizers, many of which had themselves been previous champions in their high school or college days. Youtube Video

Avalanche Education

As a bilingual avalanche safety instructor, I have taught hundreds of students throughout Idaho, Oregon, California, Colorado, Argentina, and Chile how to safely enjoy backcountry skiing and riding. In my blog I've posted several of my lectures and written on as well. Fun fact: I got my nickname "Pinguino" while teaching in Argentina (e.g., the favicon for my site is a penguin).