Note : I am replacing my picture with my son's. He looks exactly like me back at the same age!

Howdy (meaning "hello" in Texas) !

I hail from Malaysia, but spent most of my life in Singapore where I had all of my formal education. Before coming to the U.S. for graduate studies, I had a brief spell working as a system engineer in Singapore, but traveled weekly back to Malaysia to stay with my parents.

Some people could get pretty confused about my background and origins. Well, put it simply, I was "manufactured" in Malaysia, but "assembled" in Singapore. To add, I am not a Chinese per se, although I can speak Mandarin, read and write Chinese characters (and I practise Chinese calligraphy too!). Rather, I am known as an overseas Chinese, simply as a result of our (great-)grandparents who were born in China but came to "Nanyang" - now known as Southeast Asia - to seek a better life and later settled in the region.

I was a PhD candidate in Computer Science under the guidance of Prof. Rada Mihalcea supported by a fellowship from the Toulouse Graduate School, UNT. My research primarily centered around extraction of semantics from images and texts.

I am happily married with 1 daughter (5 yrs old and going!), 1 son (31 months and going!) no dogs (seriously considering!), no cats (never). We currently reside in the Pennington, New Jersey, US.

CURRENT : I have graduated and am now working in the NLP/Speech Group at ETS Ressearch, helping to develop automated systems for scoring TOEFL, GRE essays and speech. We are also working on the exciting prospect of automated assessment of public speaking proficiency using multimodal cues, such as head gestures, facial expressions and bodily movements.

Fact Verification, with Silviu Cucerzan, Microsoft Research (US 13/438,846, granted)

Systems and Methods for Assessing Structured Interview Responses, with Patrick Kyllonen, Lei Chen, Michelle Martin, Isaac Bejar, Joanna Gorin, David Williamson (US 14/667,006, filed)

Systems and Methods for Constructed Response Scoring Using Metaphor Detection with Beata Beigman Klebanov, Michael Flor, Michael Heilman, Educational Testing Service (US 14/640955, filed)

Systems and Methods for Providing a Multimodal Evaluation of a Presentation, with Lei Chen, Gary Feng, Christopher Kitchen and Chong Min Lee, Educational Testing Service (US 14/247,757, filed)

[New] Vikram Ramanarayanan, Ben Leong, David Suendermann-Oeft, Crowdsourcing Ratings of Caller Engagement in Thin-Slice Videos of Human-Machine Dialog: Benefits and Pitfalls, to appear in Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), Glasgow, Scotland, 2017

[New] Lei Chen, Franklin Zaromb, Yang Zhitong, Ben Leong, Michelle Martin-Raugh Can a Machine Pass a Situational Judgment Test Measuring Personality Perception?, to appear in Proceedings of 2nd International Workshop on Automatic Sentiment Analysis, San Antonio, TX, 2017

[New] (best paper award nominee) Lei Chen, Ru Zhao, Ben Leong, Blair Lehman, Gary Feng, Ehsan Mohammed Hoque Automated Video Interview Judgment on a Large-Sized Corpus Collected Onlne, to appear in Proceedings of International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), San Antonio, TX, 2017

[New] Vikram Ramanarayanan, Ben Leong, David Suendermann-Oeft, Rushing to Judgement: How Do Laypeople Rate Caller Engagement in Thin-Slice Videos of Human--Machine Dialog?, to appear in Proceedings of International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (INTERSPEECH), Stockholm, Sweden, 2017

[New] Klaus Zechner, Su-Youn Yoon, Suma Bhat, and Ben Leong, Comparative evaluation of automated scoring of syntactic competence of non-native speakers, to appear in Journal of Computers in Human Behavior (CHB, Impact Factor: 3.724), 2017

Lei Chen, Gary Feng, Ben Leong, Michelle Martin, Blair Lehman, Harrison Kell, Chong Min Lee, Su-Youn Yoon, Automated Scoring of Interview Videos Using Doc2Vec Multimodal Feature Extraction Paradigm, in Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), Tokyo, Japan, 2016

Lei Chen, Gary Feng, Michelle Martin, Ben Leong, Chris Kitchen, Su-Youn Yoon, Blair Lehman, Harrison Kell, Chong Min Lee, Automatic Scoring of Monologue Video Interviews Using Multimodal Cues, in Proceedings of International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (INTERSPEECH), 2016

Beata Beigman Klebanov, Ben Leong, E. Dario Gutierrez, Ekaterina Shutova and Michael Flor, Semantic Classifications for Detection of Verb Metaphors, in Proceedings of the 54th Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), 2016

Lei Chen, Gary Feng, Ben Leong, Jilliam Joe, Christopher Kitchen and Chong Min Lee, Designing An Automated Assessment of Public Speaking Skills Using Multimodal Cues, in Journal of Learning Analytics, 2016

Klaus Zechner, Lei Chen, Larry Davis, Keelan Evanini, Chong Min Lee, Ben Leong, Xinhao Wang and Su-Youn Yoon Automated Scoring of Speaking Tasks in the Test of English-for-Teaching (TEFT), in ETS Research Report Series, 2015

Ben Leon>, Lei Chen, Gary Feng, Chong Min Lee and Matthew MulHolland, Utilizing Depth Sensors for Analyzing Multimodal Presentations: Hardware, Software and Toolkits, in Proceedings of the 4th Multimodal Learning Analytics Challenge, 17th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), Seattle, 2015

Vikram Ramanarayanan, Ben Leong, Lei Chen, Gary Feng, David Suendermann, Evaluating speech, face, emotion and body movement time-series features for automated multimodal presentation scoring, in Proceedings of the 17th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), Seattle, 2015

Lei Chen, Ben Leong, Gary Feng, Chong Min Lee, and Swapna Somasundaran, Utilizing Multimodal Cues to Automatically Evaluate Public Speaking Performance, in Proceedings of International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), Xi'an, China, 2015

Vikram Ramanarayanan, Lei Chen, Ben Leong, Gary Feng and David Suendermann-Oeft, An Analysis of Time-Aggregated and Time-Series Features for Scoring Different Aspects of Multimodal Presentation Data, in International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (INTERSPEECH), Dresden, Germany, 2015

Beata Beigman Klebanov, Ben Leong, Michael Flor, Supervised Word-Level Metaphor Detection: Experiments with Concreteness and Reweighting of Examples, in Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Metaphor in NLP (NAACL-Meta4NLP), Denver, CO, 2015

Ben Leong, Beata Beigman Klebanov, Michael Flor, and Michael Heilman, Automatic Metaphor Detection using Machine Learning, in Proceedings of the 9th Annual Machine Learning Symposium, NYC, 2015

Lei Chen, Ben Leong, Gary Feng and Chong Min Lee, Using Multimodal Cues to Analyze MLA’14 Presentation Quality Data Set: Presentation Delivery and Slides Quality, in Proceedings of the 3rd Multimodal Learning Analytics Workshop and Grand Challenges (MLA), Istanbul, Turkey, 2014

Lei Chen, Su-Youn Yoon, Ben Leong, Michelle Martin and Min Ma, An Initial Study on Analyzing Structured Video Interviews by using Multimodal Emotion Detection, in Proceedings of International Workshop on Emotion Representations and Modelling for HCI Systems (ERM4HCI), Istanbul, Turkey, 2014

Lei Chen, Gary Feng, Jilliam Joe, Ben Leong, Christopher Kitchen, and Chong Min Lee, Towards Automated Assessment of Public Speaking Skills Using Multimodal Cues, in Proceedings of 16th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), Istanbul, Turkey, 2014

Beata Beigman Klebanov, Ben Leong, Michael Heilman and Michael Flor, Different Texts, Same Metaphors: Unigrams and Beyond, in Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Metaphor in NLP (ACL-Meta4NLP), Baltimore, MD, 2014

Klaus Zechner, Keelan Evanini, Su-Youn Yoon, Lawrence Davis, Xinhao Wang, Lei Chen, Chong Min Lee, and Ben Leong, Automated Scoring of Speaking Items in an Assessment for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, in Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (ACL-BEA9), Baltimore, MD, 2014

Ben Leong, Modeling Synergistic Relationships between Words and Images, PhD dissertation, December 2012

Ben Leong and Silviu Cucerzan, Supporting Factual Statements with Evidence from the Web, in Proceedings of ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), Maui, Hawaii, Oct 2012

Ben Leong and Rada Mihalcea, Going Beyond Text: A Hybrid Image-Text Approach for Measuring Word Relatedness, in Proceedings of Joint International Conference on Natural Language Processing (IJCNLP), Chiang Mai, Thailand, November 2011

Ruiz Miguel, Ben Leong and Samer Hassan, UNT at ImageCLEF 2011: Relevance Models and Salient Semantic Analysis for Image Retrieval, Wikipedia image retrieval task at ImageCLEF 2011, Amsterdam, Netherlands, September 2011 (non-refereed, invited paper. Our system ranks 4/51 for all text-based systems)

Ben Leong, Samer Hassan, Ruiz Miguel and Rada Mihalcea, Improving Query Expansion for Image Retrieval via Saliency and Picturability, in Proceedings of Conference on Multilingual and Multimodal Information Access Evaluation (CLEF) , Amsterdam, Netherlands, September 2011

Ben Leong and Rada Mihalcea, Measuring the semantic relatedness between words and images, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS), Oxford, UK, January 2011

Ben Leong and Rada Mihalcea and Samer Hassan, Text Mining for Automatic Image Tagging, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING), Beijing, China, August 2010

Ben Leong and Rada Mihalcea, Explorations in Automatic Image Annotation using Textual Features, in Proceedings of the Third Linguistic Annotation Workshop (ACL-IJCNLP), Suntec, Singapore, 2009

Rada Mihalcea and Ben Leong, Toward communicating simple sentences using pictorial representations, in Journal of Machine Translation (MT Journal), Volume 22, Number 3, Springer Netherlands Publishers, 2009

Ben Leong and Samer Hassan, Exploiting Wikipedia for Directional Inferential Text Similarity, in Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Information Technology : New Generations (ITNG), Las Vegas, 2008

Rada Mihalcea and Ben Leong, Toward Communicating Simple Sentences Using Pictorial Representations, In Proceedings of the Conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas (AMTA), Boston, August 2006

- Visualization and Analysis for Multimodal Presentation (VAMP)", at PyGotham 2016, New York City, NY, 2016
- Modeling Synergistic Relationships between Words and Images, at Raytheon BBN Technologies, Cambridge, MA, 2012
- Toward Bridging the Semantic Gap - Linking images to words, at Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ, 2012

Professional Services :

- International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI): 2017
- International World Wide Web Conference (WWW): 2016,2017
- Association for Computational linguistics (ACL) Conference: 2013,2014
- Association for Computational linguistics (ACL) Textgraphs Workshop: 2009
- North America Chapter of Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL) Amazon Mechanical Turk Workshop: 2010
- Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP): 2013,2014,2015
- IEEE International Conference on Multimodal Computing, Multimodal Learning Analytics track (ICMI-MLA): 2015
- IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing: 2015
- Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics (TACL): 2014-2018
- Portuguese International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (EPIA), Text Mining and Application (TeMA) Thematic Track: 2013
- European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL) Workshop on Innovative hybrid approaches to the processing of textual data: 2013
- Multimedia Systems Journal (ACM/Springer Press): 2012
- Information Systems Journal (Elsevier Press): 2012
- Computational Linguistics Conference (CLA): 2011
- Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII): 2011

Organizing Committee :
North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) Local Organizers (Denton, TX) 2010, 2011, 2012

Please refer to the contact email listed in my latest paper.