Role-based Named Entity Recognition by Pablo Calleja

Pablo Calleja, from the Ontology Engineering Group at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain, is currently completing an Internship with RGCL as part of his PhD. Yesterday, Pablo gave a talk to the group about his research.

Title: Role-based Named Entity Recognition over unstructured texts


Named Entity Recognition (NER) poses new challenges in real-world documents in which there are entities with different roles according to their purpose or meaning. Retrieving all the possible entities in scenarios in which only a subset of them based on their role is needed, produces noise on the overall precision.

The talk will present a Role-based NER task that relies on role classification hierarchy models that support recognizing entities with a specific role. The proposed task has been implemented in two use cases: one in the biomedical domain using Spanish drug Summary of Product Characteristics and the other in the legal domain using multilingual and heterogeneous mails of the Panama Papers investigation.

Seminar by Dr Chun Chang

Last week, we were visited by Dr Chun Chang and Zhao Jie from the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China. Dr Chang and Zhao Jie spent the day in meetings with members of RGCL discussing future collaborations but in between meetings, Dr Chang found the time to give a talk to the group. The details can be found below-

Title: The Construction and Application of Chinese Thesaurus in China


Dr. Chun Chang, Professor, The Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China. Dr. Chang has long been engaged in the construction and application of the knowledge organization system.

Focusing on the construction and application of the Chinese Thesaurus, the lecture will discuss three main aspects below: The definition of a thesaurus and basic information of constructing thesauri in China; The history and current situation of constructing Chinese Thesaurus and the application of Computational Linguistics in the compilation process; and the current and prospective application of Chinese Thesaurus in retrieving information.

Antoni Oliver González visits RGCL

On Monday, Antoni Oliver González, from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) in Barcelona, arrived at RGCL for a two week stay to form research collaborations with members of the group. On Thursday, Antoni gave the following talk to the group:

Title: Automatic detection of translation equivalents of terms in large parallel and comparable corpora

Abstract: In this talk some methodologies for finding the translation equivalents of a term in big parallel and comparable corpora will be presented. For parallel corpora we are using translation tables from Statistical Machine Translation systems (Moses). For comparable corpora we are experimenting with vecmap, a tool to create cross-lingual word embedding mappings. The experiments will be carried out using the IATE database for English for two subjects: International Relations and International organizations. The goal is to enlarge the Spanish IATE database and to create this database for Catalan.

These experiments are being performed during a short research stay and we will be only able to present preliminary results.

RGCL awarded prestigious EC-funded Masters programme

The Research Group in Computational Linguistics (RGCL) has been successful in their application for a European Masters in Technology for Translation and Interpreting (EM TTI).

EM TTI will be run by the strong consortium consisting of the University of Wolverhampton, University of Malaga (Spain), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria) and will deliver a cohesive, integrated European-wide programme. Bringing together these four Higher Education institutions, who are leading researchers in computational aspects of language study, as well as in state-of-the-art technology for translation and interpreting, will give the students access to high-profile academics and best practices across the field. Students on the two-year degree course have the opportunity to study at multiple universities and undertake industry placements related to their dissertation.

EM TTI will produce specialists in translation and interpreting who are up-to-date with the latest applications which support their daily work. The disciplines involved are translation, interpreting, language technology, and linguistics.

This was a highly competitive application process. Prof. R Mitkov, the coordinator of the programme and Director of the Research Institute commented ‘This programme is not only the first Erasmus Mundus Master programme on Technology for Translation and Interpreting but the very first Master programme in the world on this topic. It will not only enhance the visibility of the research group and university, but will also create a very special teaching and research vibrant environment on the topics covered. ‘

The funding of 3 million Euros granted by the EC will cover 60 scholarships across the consortium. The offer of scholarships will drive competition for places and ensure candidates of the highest calibre are selected. Students will be awarded a Multiple Master’s degree from the institutions where they study.

The new programme will begin in September 2019, with applications opening in November/December 2018. For any further information, please contact Amanda Bloore, Project and Funding Officer for RIILP (

Congratulations to Shiva Taslimipoor on defending her thesis!

Congratulations to Shiva Taslimipoor who successfully defended her thesis, entitled ‘Automatic Identification and Translation of Multiword Expressions’, on Tuesday. She is pictured (left-right) with Professor Dew Harrison (Chair of the viva), Dr Aline Villavicencio (External Examiner), Professor Mike Thelwall (Internal Examiner) and Professor Ruslan Mitkov (Director of Studies). We are all thrilled for Shiva and wish her the very best for her next venture!

Fingerprints in SMS messages: a seminar by Branislava Šandrih

Branislava Šandrih, from the University of Belgrade, has spent a week with us at RGCL. During this time, she has formed collaborations with many members of the group. Branislava gave a talk to the group which outlined her research.

Title: Fingerprints in SMS messages


The presentation will present a study which seeks to find answers to the following questions:

  • Is it possible to tell who is the sender of the short message only by analysing a distribution of characters, and not the meaning of the content itself?
  • If possible, how reliable would the judgment be?
  • Are we leaving some kind of ‘fingerprints’ when we text, and can we tell anything about a person based on the way this person writes short messages?

A multilingual corpus of SMS messages was collected from a single smart phone to underpin the development of a methodology to address the above challenges.  First, a binary classifier was trained to distinguish between messages composed and sent by a public service (e.g. parking service, bank reports etc.) and messages written by humans. A second classifier caters for the more challenging task of distinguishing between messages written by the owner of the smart phone and messages sent by other senders.


Branislava’s presentation outlined the experiments related to the above classifiers and reported the evaluation results.