Colin McDonald

First-year PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University advised by Umut Acar

My broad research interests include programming languages, type theory, quantum computing, NLP, and formal logic. I'm particularly fascinated by quantum circuit compilation, linear type systems, and characterizing effects in functional programming languages.

You can check out what I've been up to recently on my GitHub page.


Exact Recursive Probabilistic Computing. pdf
Chiang, McDonald, Shan. In Proc. of the ACM on Programming Languages. 2023.
Syntax-Based Attention Masking for Neural Machine Translation. pdf
McDonald and Chiang. In Proc. NAACL Student Research Workshop. 2021.
Strong Functional Pearl: Harper's Regular-Expression Matcher in Cedille. pdf
Stump, Jenkins, Spahn, McDonald. In Proc. of the ACM on Programming Languages. 2020.
Elaborating Inductive Definitions and Course-of-Values Induction in Cedille. pdf
Jenkins, McDonald, Stump. Preprint. 2019.


2023 NDSEG Fellow
2023 NSF GRFP Awardee
* Declined — chose NDSEG

2020 Gilman Scholarship Awardee
* Declined due to COVID-19

2019 U.S. Presidential Scholar


Carnegie Mellon University, August 2023 - Current
Doctor of Philosophy, Computer Science

University of Notre Dame, Class of 2023
Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, Computer Science and Philosophy
Natural Language Processing Group

TA Experience

Fall 2022: CSE 40431 - Programming Languages
Spring 2022: CSE 30151 - Theory of Computing