Photo of Brian DuSell.

Brian DuSell

/ˈbɹaɪən duˈsɛl/
杜亦然
デュセル・ブライアン

I am a computer science researcher who specializes in natural language processing and artificial intelligence. I like to study the structure of languages used by both humans and computers, as well as its role in translation between languages. As such, I am particularly interested in approaches to natural language processing that take into account syntactic structure and connections to formal language theory.

I am currently a postdoc at ETH Zürich in Ryan Cotterell's lab. Before coming to ETH, I completed my PhD at the University of Notre Dame, where I was advised by David Chiang. My dissertation proposed new neural network architectures that are capable of handling language with ambiguous syntactic structure, using tricks from automata theory. I taught the Theory of Computing course at Notre Dame in the spring semester of 2022. I got my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science also at Notre Dame; I worked in industry for a few years before coming back for grad school.

Note: I will be on the academic job market in fall 2024. 🙂

Publications

  • PILA: A Historical-Linguistic Dataset of Proto-Italic and Latin
    Stephen Bothwell, Brian DuSell, David Chiang, and Brian Krostenko
    LREC-COLING 2024
    code arXiv ACL
    @inproceedings{bothwell-etal-2024-pila,
        title = "{PILA}: A Historical-Linguistic Dataset of {P}roto-{I}talic and {L}atin",
        author = "Bothwell, Stephen and DuSell, Brian and Chiang, David and Krostenko, Brian",
        booktitle = "Proc. LREC-COLING",
        pages = "12749--12760",
        year = "2024",
        month = may,
        address = "Turin, Italy",
        publisher = "ELRA and ICCL",
        url = "https://aclanthology.org/2024.lrec-main.1116/"
    }
  • Stack Attention: Improving the Ability of Transformers to Model Hierarchical Patterns
    Brian DuSell and David Chiang
    ICLR 2024 🏆 Spotlight paper!
    video slides poster code arXiv OpenReview
    @inproceedings{dusell-chiang-2024-stack,
        title = "Stack Attention: Improving the Ability of Transformers to Model Hierarchical Patterns",
        author = "DuSell, Brian and Chiang, David",
        booktitle = "Proc. ICLR",
        year = "2024",
        month = may,
        address = "Vienna, Austria",
        url = "https://openreview.net/forum?id=XVhm3X8Fum"
    }
  • Nondeterministic Stacks in Neural Networks
    Brian DuSell
    PhD Dissertation (2023)
    arXiv CurateND
    @phdthesis{dusell-2023-nondeterministic,
        title = "Nondeterministic Stacks in Neural Networks",
        author = "DuSell, Brian",
        school = "University of Notre Dame",
        year = "2023",
        month = apr,
        url = "https://curate.nd.edu/show/jh343r10k4d",
        doi = "10.7274/jh343r10k4d"
    }
  • The Surprising Computational Power of Nondeterministic Stack RNNs
    Brian DuSell and David Chiang
    ICLR 2023
    code arXiv OpenReview
    @inproceedings{dusell-chiang-2023-surprising,
        title = "The Surprising Computational Power of Nondeterministic Stack {RNN}s",
        author = "DuSell, Brian and Chiang, David",
        booktitle = "Proc. ICLR",
        year = "2023",
        month = may,
        address = "Kigali, Rwanda",
        url = "https://openreview.net/forum?id=o58JtGDs6y"
    }
  • Algorithms for Weighted Pushdown Automata
    Alexandra Butoi, Brian DuSell, Tim Vieira, Ryan Cotterell, and David Chiang
    EMNLP 2022
    code arXiv ACL
    @inproceedings{butoi-etal-2022-algorithms,
        title = "Algorithms for Weighted Pushdown Automata",
        author = "Butoi, Alexandra and DuSell, Brian and Vieira, Tim and Cotterell, Ryan and Chiang, David",
        booktitle = "Proc. EMNLP",
        pages = "9669--9680",
        year = "2022",
        month = dec,
        address = "Abu Dhabi, UAE",
        publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
        url = "https://aclanthology.org/2022.emnlp-main.656/",
        doi = "10.18653/v1/2022.emnlp-main.656"
    }
  • Learning Hierarchical Structures with Differentiable Nondeterministic Stacks
    Brian DuSell and David Chiang
    ICLR 2022 🏆 Spotlight paper!
    code arXiv OpenReview
    @inproceedings{dusell-chiang-2022-learning,
        title = "Learning Hierarchical Structures with Differentiable Nondeterministic Stacks",
        author = "DuSell, Brian and Chiang, David",
        booktitle = "Proc. ICLR",
        year = "2022",
        month = apr,
        address = "Online",
        url = "https://openreview.net/forum?id=5LXw_QplBiF"
    }
  • Learning Context-Free Languages with Nondeterministic Stack RNNs
    Brian DuSell and David Chiang
    CoNLL 2020
    code arXiv ACL
    @inproceedings{dusell-chiang-2020-learning,
        title = "Learning Context-Free Languages with Nondeterministic Stack {RNN}s",
        author = "DuSell, Brian and Chiang, David",
        booktitle = "Proc. CoNLL",
        pages = "507--519",
        year = "2020",
        month = nov,
        address = "Online",
        publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
        url = "https://aclanthology.org/2020.conll-1.41/",
        doi = "10.18653/v1/2020.conll-1.41"
    }
  • Efficiency through Auto-Sizing: Notre Dame NLP's Submission to the WNGT 2019 Efficiency Task
    Kenton Murray, Brian DuSell, and David Chiang
    Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation 2019
    arXiv ACL
    @inproceedings{murray-etal-2019-efficiency,
        title = "Efficiency through Auto-Sizing: {N}otre {D}ame {NLP}{'}s Submission to the {WNGT} 2019 Efficiency Task",
        author = "Murray, Kenton and DuSell, Brian and Chiang, David",
        booktitle = "Proc. Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation",
        pages = "297--301",
        year = "2019",
        month = nov,
        address = "Hong Kong",
        publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
        url = "https://aclanthology.org/D19-5634/",
        doi = "10.18653/v1/D19-5634"
    }
  • News

    Experience

    • University of Notre Dame logo

      ETH Zürich

      2023-present
      Postdoc
      Supervisor: Ryan Cotterell
    • University of Notre Dame logo

      University of Notre Dame

      2016-2023
      M.S. and Ph.D., Computer Science
      Dissertation: Nondeterministic Stacks in Neural Networks
      Advisor: David Chiang
    • AWS logo

      Amazon Web Services

      Jun-Sep 2020 and 2021
      Applied Scientist Intern
      Team: Amazon Translate
    • University of Notre Dame logo

      University of Notre Dame

      2009-2013
      B.S. in Computer Science, magna cum laude

    Software

    See more on my GitHub page.

    Hey, you scrolled down this far!

    Despite my interest in languages, I am monolingual. But I dabble in ancient Greek, Latin, 日本語, 中文, and now that I live in Switzerland, a little bit of Deutsch.

    Fun fact: my grandfather, D. Lee DuSell, is an artist and sculptor, and you can check out his work on his website, made by yours truly.