Portrait of Bill Dolan

Bill Dolan

Partner Research Manager


I am a Partner Research manager in Microsoft Research, where I manage the Natural Language Processing group (opens in new tab). My undergraduate degree is from UC Berkeley, and my Ph.D. is from UCLA Linguistics (opens in new tab). I joined MSR in 1992, and most of my work since then has focused on semantic processing.

A fundamental research interest has been “the paraphrase problem”: when do superficially dissimilar strings of words convey essentially the same meaning?

On its way to an extended mission at Saturn, the Cassini probe on Friday makes its closest rendezvous with Saturn’s dark moon Phoebe.
The Cassini spacecraft, which is en route to Saturn, is about to make a close pass of the ringed planet’s mysterious moon Phoebe.

In addition, I’ve worked extensively on Machine Translation, managing the Microsoft Translator (opens in new tab) team from its inception until 2011.

This 2011 paper (opens in new tab) was the first published work to explore what at that point was a heretical claim: that data-driven techniques could power conversational experiences. Follow-on work (opens in new tab) was the first to explore how neural models could be coaxed into enforcing a persistent “persona”.

More recently, I have been focused on gaming applications as testbed for exploring and improving the behavior of large multimodal foundation models. In particular, I am interested in how large-scale human feedback loops can be used to harness and improve model “hallucinatory” behavior in ways that better approximate human notions of creativity.