Portrait of Layla El Asri

Layla El Asri

Research Manager


I am a Research Manager at Microsoft Research Maluuba, Montréal. The goal of Maluuba is to teach machines to think, reason, and communicate. Before joining Maluuba in 2016, I completed my PhD in computer science at Université de Lorraine in France. My PhD was a joint project between Université de Lorraine and Orange Labs, the research and development branch of Orange, a French telecommunication company. My research focused on learning the parameters of reinforcement learning for dialogue systems. I proposed novel methods to learn a reward function from a set of dialogues which were rated by humans. I also worked on learning an interpretable representation of the state space.

I joined Maluuba in 2016 as a research scientist and worked on user simulation. I then became a team lead and led the data collection for a goal-oriented dialogue dataset. I joined Microsoft as a research manager and have been leading a team focused on dialogue research. The team works on advancing the state-of-the-art as well as improving Microsoft products with dialogue capabilities.

My main interests are currently: the evaluation of dialogue systems, offline reinforcement learning on human-human dialogues, and visual dialogue.