Portrait of Susan Dumais

Susan Dumais

Deputy Managing Director/Distinguished Scientist


Susan Dumais is a principal researcher in the Context Learning and User Experience for Search (CLUES) group at Microsoft Research. Her research is at the intersection of information retrieval and human-computer interaction.

Research activities
I am interested in algorithms and interfaces for improved information retrieval, as well as general issues in human-computer interaction. I have been at Microsoft Research since July 1997. My current research focuses on gaze-enhanced interaction, the temporal dynamics of information systems, user modeling and personalization, novel interfaces for interactive retrieval, and search evaluation. Previous research studied a variety of information access and management challenges, including personal information management, desktop search, question answering, text categorization, collaborative filtering, interfaces for improving search and navigation, and user/task modeling. I have worked closely with several Microsoft groups (Bing, Windows Desktop Search, SharePoint Portal Server, and Office Online Help) on search-related innovations.

Prior to coming to Microsoft, I co-developed a statistical method for concept-based retrieval known as Latent Semantic Indexing. You can find pointers to this work on the Bellcore (now Telcordia) LSI page.


Diff-IE Add-on for Internet Explorer

Established: October 4, 2010

Diff-IE tracks changes to pages you visit on the Web and shows you what's changed since the last time you visited. Diff-IE is a prototype Internet Explorer Add-on that: Highlights the changes to a webpage since the last time you…

Support Vector Machines

Established: November 5, 2001

Support vector machines are a set of algorithms that learn from data by creating models that maximize their margin of error. Support vector machines (SVMs) are a family of algorithms for classification, regression, transduction, novelty detection, and semi-supervised learning. They work by choosing…




The Activity Platform
Helen Wang, Alexander Moshchuk, Michael Gamon, Mona Haraty, Shamsi Iqbal, Eli T. Brown, Ashish Kapoor, Chris Meek, Eric Chen, Yuan Tian, Jaime Teevan, Mary Czerwinski, Susan Dumais, in USENIX 15th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS XV), May 8, 2015, View abstract, Download PDF























  • Information Week article by Stuart Johnson on our contributions to SharePoint Portal Server. Microsoft Research who benefits?  Information Week, March 21, 2001, 69-74.
  • Forbes article by William Baldwin on our anti-Spam work. Spam killers. Forbes, Sept 21, 1998, 254-255.


  • S.T. Dumais (2012). Putting search into context and context into search. SIGIR 2012, Industry Keynote.
  • S.T. Dumais (2012). Data-driven approaches to improving information access. Festschrift for Richard M. Shiffrin.
  • S.T. Dumais (2012). Temporal dynamics and information retrieval. SIAM-SDM 2012, Keynote Talk.
  • S.T. Dumais (2011). Temporal dynamics and information systems. (Slides.) iConference 2011, Keynote Talk.
  • S.T. Dumais (2010). Temporal dynamics and information retrieval. CIKM 2010, Keynote Talk.
  • S.T. Dumais (2010). Understanding and supporting people in dynamic information environments. (Slides.) ECDL 2010, Keynote Talk.
  • S.T. Dumais (2010). Stuff I’ve Seen: Retrospective and prospective. SIGIR 2010 Desktop Search Workshop, Keynote Talk.
  • S.T. Dumais (2009). An interdisciplinary perspective on information retrieval. (Slides.) SIGIR 2009, Salton Award Lecture.
  • S.T. Dumais (2009). Evaluating IR in situ. (Slides.) SIGIR 2009 Workshop on The Future of IR Evaluation, Invited Talk.
  • S.T. Dumais (2009). Thinking outside the (search) box. (Slides.) UMAP 2009, Keynote Talk.
  • S. Dumais (2008). Thinking outside the (search) box. (Slides.) HCIR 2008 Keynote Talk.
  • S. Dumais (2008). Supporting searchers in searching. (Slides.) ACL Keynote Talk.
  • S. Dumais (2007). The Person in Personal. (Slides.) WWW2007 Panel: Searching Personal Content.
  • L. Streeter, D. Laham, S. Dumais, E. Z. Rothkopf (2004). Cherches le quadrant Pasteur! A symposium in honor of Tom Landauer. In Experimental Cognitive Psychology and its Applications: Triple Festschrift in Honor of Lyle Bourne, Walter Kintsch, Thomas Landauer.
  • S. Dumais (2002). Web experiments and test collections: Are they meaningful? WWW 2002 panel.
  • S. T. Dumais (2001). When do you want to go ‘where everybody knows your name’?: A framework for personalization. Invited talk at DELOS/NSF Workshop on Personalization and Recommender Systems in Digital Libraries. June 18-20, 2001, Dublin. Powerpoint slides.
  • S. T. Dumais, E. Cutrell and H. Chen (2000). Classified displays of web search results. Invited presentation at ASIS&T SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop, Nov 12, 2000, pp.87-90.
  • S. T. Dumais (1999). Beyond content-based retrieval: Modeling domains, users and interaction. Keynote address at IEEE: Advances in Digital Libraries’99, May 19-21, 1999. Powerpoint slides.
  • S. T. Dumais (1999). Talk at Library of Congress, Feb 8 1999. LOC Talk. (Powerpoint slides).
  • S. T. Dumais (1999). Statistical challenges for information retrieval. Tutorial at Uncertainty ’99, Jan 3-5, 1999.
  • S. T. Dumais (1997). Tightly coupling structure and search. (Powerpoint slides) SIGIR’97 Workshop on information reduction, July 27-31, 1997.
  • S. T. Dumais (1997). Data mining and the Web. (Powerpoint slides) Panel at Knowledge Discovery and Databases (KDD) , August 14-17, 1997.

Workshops and collaborations

  • Co-Organizer: Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia: Drawing causal inference from big data. Washington DC, Mar 26-27, 2015.
  • Co-Chair (w/ O. Kurland). WSDM 2014 Doctoral Consortium. New York City, Feb 24, 2014.
  • Co-Organizer: Time-aware information access (#TAIA2013). Workshop at SIGIR 2013. Dublin, Aug 1, 2013.
  • Co-Organizer: NII Shonan Seminar on Whole-session evaluation of interactive retrieval systems. Shonan, Japan. Oct 9-13, 2012.
  • Co-Organizer: Time-aware information access (#TAIA2012). Workshop at SIGIR 2012. Portland, Aug 16, 2012.
  • Co-Chair (w/ B. Davison). WSDM 2012 Doctoral Consortium. Seattle, Feb 8, 2012.
  • Co-Chair (w/ A. Trotman). SIGIR 2008 Doctoral Consortium. Singapore, July 20, 2008.
  • Co-Organizer: NSF Workshop on Personal Information Management. Seattle WA, Jan 27-29, 2005.
  • Co-Organizer: SIGIR Workshop on Implicit Measures of User Interests and Preferences. Toronto CA, Aug 1, 2003.
  • Collaborator: “Collaborative Information Retrieval”, a multidisciplinary research project to understand the social aspects of information retrieval in a variety of workplace settings. In collaboration with Raya Fidel and Harry Bruce (U Washington iSchool), Steve Poltrock (Boeing), A.M. Petersen (Riso National Laboratory), and Jonathan Grudin (Microsoft Research).
  • Collaborator: “Keeping Found Things Found”, a research project to understand the ways in which people manage information for subsequent re-access. In collaboration with William Jones, Harry Bruce and Mike Eisenberg (U Washington iSchool).

Awards and activities