Stephen Purpura

Personal Homepage

I'm an Information Science Ph.D. student at Cornell University where I am working on providing adaptable search experiences. An adaptable search experience is one that changes as necessary to facilitate effectively finding information or entertainment. This research requires me to understand and participate in the research areas of Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Retrieval, and Information Theory.

Most people would classify me as an empiricist -- my Master's Thesis used statistical matching methods to tease actionable information from a large online poll -- but I primarily work on problems with rich non-empirical traditions and practices in the Political, Public Policy, Economics, Legal, and Communication Analysis domains. This is a challenging balance because the research culture of machine learning is very different than the cultures of HCI or Public Policy. So, rather than a rationalist or empirical perspective, I draw from methods across disciplines in a hybrid approach.

Finally, my research and teaching are motivated by my work history with information technology. Since 1990, I've worked in a variety of positions, including software engineer, software development manager, program manager, and product manager. My past influences my choice of projects and also my interaction with students. A big part of my teaching is related to effective methods for building real systems. This focus on effectiveness draws students enrolled in MBA, Information Science, and Computer Science programs to work with me on projects related to Product Management, Information Science, and Software Engineering. Usually, I try to limit the diversity of these projects, but I've recently had fun experiments in social media and mobile computing in addition to machine learning, natural language processing, and information retrieval.

Publication Statistics

Publication period start
Publication period end
Number of co-authors

Number of publications with favourite co-authors

Productive Colleagues
Most productive colleagues in number of publications


Purpura, Stephen, Schwanda, Victoria, Williams, Kaiton, Stubler, William, Sengers, Phoebe (2011): Fit4life: the design of a persuasive technology promoting healthy behavior and ideal weigh. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2011, . pp. 423-432.

Purpura, Stephen, Cardie, Claire, Simons, Jesse (2008): Active learning for e-rulemaking: public comment categorization. In: Chun, Soon Ae, Janssen, Marijn, Gil-García, José Ramón (eds.) DG.O 2008 - Proceedings of the 9th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research May 18-21, 2008, Montreal, Canada. pp. 234-243.

Purpura, Stephen, Hillard, Dustin (2006): Automated classification of congressional legislation. In: Fortes, José A. B., MacIntosh, Ann (eds.) DG.O 2006 - Proceedings of the 7th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research May 21-24, 2006, San Diego, California, USA. pp. 219-225.