Morris Alper

I am a PhD student at the School of Electrical Engineering, Tel Aviv University (TAU). Under the mentorship of Dr. Hadar Averbuch-Elor, I am researching multimodal learning – machine learning applied to tasks involving vision and language.

I began my PhD in March 2023; previously, I received my MSc with honors from Tel Aviv University in Computer Science and my BSc from MIT with a dual major in mathematics and linguistics. I also have experience working as a data scientist and teaching machine learning to industry professionals.

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HaLo-NeRF: Learning Geometry-Guided Semantics for Exploring Unconstrained Photo Collections
Chen Dudai*, Morris Alper*, Hana Bezalel, Rana Hanocka, Itai Lang, Hadar Averbuch-Elor   *Equal contribution
Eurographics, 2024

We learn a semantic localization field for textual descriptions over collections of in-the-wild images depicting a large-scale scene.

Kiki or Bouba? Sound Symbolism in Vision-and-Language Models
Morris Alper, Hadar Averbuch-Elor
NeurIPS (spotlight), 2023

By generating images using prompts containing pseudowords (nonsense words) and analyzing their shapes, we show that AI image generation models show sound-shape associations similar to those known from human psychology.

Learning Human-Human Interactions in Images from Weak Textual Supervision
Morris Alper, Hadar Averbuch-Elor
ICCV, 2023

We propose to model human-human interaction understanding in images as free text generation, providing a new benchmark and showing how to use Internet image captions as weak supervision for this task.

Is BERT Blind? Exploring the Effect of Vision-and-Language Pretraining on Visual Language Understanding
Morris Alper*, Michael Fiman*, Hadar Averbuch-Elor   *Equal contribution
CVPR, 2023

We investigate the effect of vision-and-language pretraining on visual reasoning in text, finding that multimodally trained text encoders outperform unimodally trained encoders such as BERT on such tasks.


Featured in the News:
  • Our work on the Kiki-Bouba effect and sound symbolism in AI models was featured in the Haaretz newspaper (Hebrew language). I was also interviewed about this work on the Kan Tarbut morning radio program (recording link, 46:30-60:00, Hebrew language).
Blog Posts and Projects:
Awards and Honors:
  • As a high school student, I qualified to join the USA team at the International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) for three years (2008, 2009, 2011). In particular, in 2011 I won 1st place (gold medal) on individual and team rounds in 2011 as well as receiving the Zhurinski Memorial Prize and a best solution award. I also received a silver medal (tied for 6th place) in 2008 and our team won the team round in 2009.