Smaranda is a research scientist at the Data Science Institute (DSI) and the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. She is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. Her research focuses on computational models for understanding language in context, such as social context or visual context, with application to computational social science and education. Specific areas of interest include argument mining, language and vision, modeling figurative language such as irony.

Before joining Columbia University, she was on the faculty in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, where she co-founded the Laboratory for the Study of Applied Language Technologies and Society. While at Rutgers, she received a Distinguished Achievements in Research Award.