Alham Fikri Aji / Curriculum Vitae

I am an assistant professor at MBZUAI. I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Language, Cognition, and Computation, where I focused on enhancing the training and inference speed of machine translation. My studies were supervised by Dr. Kenneth Heafield and Dr. Rico Sennrich. Presently, my research centers around multilingual, low-resource, and low-compute NLP. I have been developing various multilingual large language models, as well as building multilingual NLP resources for underrepresented languages, especially Indonesian. In the past, I have gained industry experience at companies such as Amazon, Google, and Apple.


  • PhD, University of Edinburgh (2016 - 2020)
    Thesis: Approximating Neural Machine Translation for Efficiency; making NMT trains faster using distributed and asynchronous training, sparse gradient, and transfer learning.
  • MSc Artificial Intelligence, University of Edinburgh (2014 - 2015)
    With distinction. Final project: Haiku generator with word vector model.
  • BSc Computer Science, Universitas Indonesia (2010 - 2014)
    Final project: Earthquake detector from phone’s accelerometer reading.

Working Experience

  • Assistant Professor, MBZUAI (2023 - Current)
    Teaching and supervising master’s and doctoral students, visiting researchers, and postdocs on a wide array of NLP research.
  • Applied Scientist, Amazon Alexa AI (2021 - 2023)
    Utilized knowledge graphs to create a truthful, multilingual question-answering system for Alexa.
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Edinburgh (2020 - 2021)
    Developed a fast, privacy-focused offline neural machine translation system by distilling large models.
  • Research Scientist, (2019 - 2021)
    Worked on and mentored junior researchers in various Indonesian NLP-related projects such as machine translation and formality style transfer.
  • Engineering Intern, Google Research (2017)
    Worked on integrating context from Google search to improve neural machine translation.
  • Language Engineer, Apple Siri (2015 - 2016)
    Designed Malay language rules and trained models to optimize Siri’s performance in Malay.

Professional Activity

  • Reviewer and Program Committee
    • Conferences: ARR, ACL, COLING, ICML, ICLR, NeurIPS, LREC
    • Workshop: WNGT, TL4NLP
  • Area Chair: ACL (2023), EMNLP (2023), COLM (2024)
  • Organizer: South-East Asia Language Processing (SEALP) 2023, Semeval 2024 shared task organizer
  • Informatics Olympiad:
    • Problem Setter: OSN Indonesia (2013, 2014, 2015). ACM-ICPC (2014, 2015), APIO (2015), Gemastik (2016)
    • Committee: Gemastik (2016), TOKI-Open (2018), IOI (2022)


  • Best Resource Paper Award, AACL 2023
  • Outstanding Paper Award, EACL 2023
  • Outstanding Contribution Award, WNGT 2019
  • World Finalists, ACM-ICPC 2014
  • Silver Medalists, IOI 2010


You may also refer to my Google Scholar for an updated list of publications



Teaching and Talks

  • Teaching:
    • NLP801 Deep Learning for Language Processing (MBZUAI, 2023 Fall - for PhD)
    • NLP702 Advanced Natural Language Processing (MBZUAI, 2024 Spring - for MSc)
  • Talks:
    • Constructing High-Quality Corpora for Underrepresented and Extremely Low-Resource Languages
      Google Singapore, Invited Talk (21th November 2023)
    • Building Multilingual & Multicultural LLMs: Methods and Challenges
      AI Singapore, Invited Talk (20th November 2023)
    • Q2AI: A Quick Course to Quick AI
      PRICAI, Tutorial (17th November 2023)
    • Current Status of NLP in South East Asia with Insights from Multilingualism and Language Diversity
      AACL, Tutorial (1st November 2023)
    • Surviving your PhD Study
      Telkom University, Invited Talk (2nd August 2023)
    • Generative AI with Large Language Models Workshop
      Institut Teknologi Bandung, Invited Talk (1st August 2023)
    • Multilingual and Low-Resource NLP
      Universitas Indonesia & Tokopedia AI Center, Invited Talk (25th May 2023)
    • Can AI Complete My Academic Writings?
      Doctrine UK, Online Talk (14th May 2023)
    • Multilingual NLP through Collaborative Research
      The 2nd Composable, Automatic and Scalable Learning Workshop (CASL), Invited Talk (23rd February 2023)
    • Sequence-to-Sequence and Neural Machine Translation Model
      Universitas Indonesia, Guest Lecture (28th April 2021)