Abe Handler

PhD student in computer science

Hi. You've found Abe Handler. I'm interested in natural language processing, machine learning and user-facing systems, especially for journalism, social science and public policy. I talk about my academic interests in more detail in my research statement and my background in more detail in my CV. Sometimes I post notes about NLP papers here.

I'm lucky to work with Brendan O'Connor at SLANG lab at the University of Massachusetts. I'm on Github and Twitter but if you want to talk to me about something, you should send me an email at abram.handler@gmail.com.

Scroll down to see my recent publications and projects.

Relational Summarization for Corpus Analysis. Abram Handler and Brendan O’Connor at NAACL 2018.
Identifying civilians killed by police with distantly supervised entity-event extraction. Katherine A. Keith, Abram Handler, Michael Pinkham, Cara Magliozzi, Joshua McDuffie, and Brendan O’Connor at EMNLP 2017.

Rookie: a unique approach for exploring news archives. Abram Handler and Brendan O'Connor at the KDD workshop on Data Science + Journalism, 2017.


Rookie is a practical text analytics system written in Python. I started work on the system at The Lens in New Orleans on a Knight prototype grant.

I helped create software called phrasemachine which finds important n-grams for downstream analysis.
The philosophy of phrasemachine is explained the paper Bag of What? Simple Noun Phrase Extraction for Text Analysis. Abram Handler, Matthew J. Denny, Hanna Wallach, and Brendan O'Connor. Text as Data 2016.
Visualizing textual models with in-text and word-as-pixel highlighting. Abram Handler, Su Lin Blodgett and Brendan O'Connor. Workshop on Human Interpretability in Machine Learning (ICML 2016).

I created a visualization (right) which shows a topic model's token-level posterior membership probabilities for a corpus of U.S. State of the Union speeches from 1946 to 2007.

Before I became a PhD student I worked as data journalist at The Lens in New Orleans where I lead development of The Vault, a collection of applications which which helped citizens better find and make use of public records. I also helped Tom Thoren create the first live election maps in Louisiana. It was a lot of fun!