I am a computational linguist - a cognitive scientist who studies language and knowledge using computational methods. More specifically, I would describe myself as as data-driven formal semanticist: I use evidence from corpora, psychology and the neural sciences, analyzed using statistical and machine learning methods, to test hypothesis formulated in mathematically precise ways, and / or to develop new such theories. For instance, my work on anaphora (also called coreference in NLP)--e.g., on ambiguous anaphora expressions, on salience, on bridging reference, and on reference to abstract objects--has been driven by the analysis of corpora (which, in most cases, we created) and of disagreements in corpus annotation--most recently, using Games-With-A-Purpose (GWAPs) such as Phrase Detectives to collect such data. My work on the organization and acquisition of conceptual knowledge has involved using machine learning techniques to acquire evidence about commonsense from corpora and brain data. I am also heavily involved in the application of NLP methods to real-world problems--areas of particular interest include deception detection and Arabic NLP.
I am a full professor in Computational Linguistics at the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London, and a member of the University's Cognitive Science and Games and AI research groups. I am also a Fellow of the Turing Institute, a supervisor in the IGGI Doctoral training centre in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence and the Wellcome Trust's PhD programme in Health Data in Practice. Until recently I was also a PI in the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project. My official QMUL page is here; I also have profiles on Google Scholar and on Research Gate.
My main current project is the DALI project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and investigating Disagreements in Anaphora and Language Interpretation. In this project we use games-with-a-purpose such as Phrase Detectives, Tile Attack and Wormingo to collect large datasets of judgments about anaphoric judgments, which we then use to study anaphora and develop models of anaphora resolution. Please visit the project's page for publications and updates, or follow our YouTube Channel on Games and NLP. Through DALI, we are also collaborating in the effort of building the LingoBoingo portal of games-with-a-purpose for creating linguistic resources.
Past projects include the SENSEI project on using discourse information to support summarization of conversations including online forums; the Concepts in Brain and Language project in collaboration with the University of Trento, devoted to studing conceptual representations by using a combination of brain imaging and techniques for acquiring concepts from corpora, with its spinoffs ADAM and Deep Relations; the Deception in Text project with Tommaso Fornaciari, on detecting deceptive reviews; several projects on using NLP to support detecting human rights violations, including a KTP with Minority Rights Group on human rights violations in Iraq; the Brain and Emotions project, also in collaboration with Trento, on studying emotions using brain data; ARRAU, on studying difficult cases of anaphora; the GALATEAS EU project on using HLT techniques to facilitate the analysis of query logs in digital libraries; the 2007 Johns Hopkins workshop ELERFED (using lexical and encyclopedic knowledge for entity disambiguation), which led to the development of the BART toolkit; GNOME (generating referring expressions); and LiveMemories (using information extraction to help sharing knowledge).
If you are interested in studying computational linguistics, whether from a cognitive or engineering perspective, consider our group! I am happy to supervise third year-, MSc- and PhD-level projects in Games-With-A-Purpose or other forms of crowdsourcing, Anaphora / Coreference, deception detection, Arabic NLP and conversational AI. My research and my ongoing and past projects are described in more detail here.
I am a co-founder and have been Associate Editor of Dialogue and Discourse since its foundation. I recently became co-editor of the Computational and Mathematical section of Language and Linguistics Compass.
Prior to joining Queen Mary, I was at the University of Essex, School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, and a member of Essex University's Language and Computation group.