Hi! I’m Arya McCarthy. I am a computer scientist, musician, cyclist, runner, and world politics aficionado. Expatriated from Texas, I’ve had the good fortune to wander before making the DC area my home. A constant drive for me is to make the communities we’re a part of healthier, effective, and welcoming. I’m convinced that the impossible, the improbable, and the inevitable are separated by your grit, and I hope to bridge the new digital divide through understanding humans and their languages.
This summer, I will intern at Google in New York. Previously, I have interned and published at Duolingo and Facebook.
I’ve played the bagpipe for over a decade. These days, it’s a great way to social-distance. I also typeset original bagpipe compositions in LaTeX, which is criminally underestimated as a tool for bringing beauty into the world.
I’m a Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University, designing machine translation that uses panlingual weak supervision with David Yarowsky in JHU’s LoReLab. I graduated from SMU in 2017 with a bachelor’s in mathematics and computer science and a master’s in computer science. There, I worked with David Matula on convex optimization, graph theory, and number theory. Along the way, I also studied briefly at Stanford University and the University of Edinburgh.
- On the uncomputability of partition functions in energy-based sequence models with Chu-Cheng Lin. ICLR 2022 Spotlight.
- Addressing posterior collapse with mutual information for improved variational neural machine translation with Xian Li, Jiatao Gu, and Ning Dong. ACL 2020.
- Modeling color terminology across thousands of languages with Winston Wu, Aaron Mueller, William Watson, and David Yarowsky. EMNLP 2019.
I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. Friends and strangers on trains have shared their tenderness with me. Whether clinging to scaffolding in bell towers, sloshing for miles through stormwater drains, mountainside sunrises in New Mexico, or jumping over filched restaurant candles for Charshanbe Suri, the world finds a way to rekindle the creative spark. The past year has left me, I hope, strong in the broken places.
For fellow graduate students, I encourage you to do one thing when you travel to conferences. Book a few extra days if you can afford it, push back your return flight, and take in the area’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and museums.