PhD Studentship in Computational Linguistics (2018)

Queen Mary University of London - School of EECS

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by a 5-year European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant awarded to Prof. Massimo Poesio called DALI: Disagreements in Language Interpretation. The project will address a fundamental question for computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, and theoretical linguistics: namely, the extent to which humans disagree on language interpretation (in particular, on the interpretation of anaphoric expressions), and the implications of such disagreements, e.g. on the development of computational models of anaphoric interpretation. We will do this by using online games-with-a-purpose to collect numerous interpretations for very large numbers of anaphoric expressions, building on the successful experience with the Phrase Detectives GWAP; by analyzing these data using Bayesian annotation models; and by developing computational methods for anaphora resolution taking disambiguation into account.

The objective of the PhD studentship is to tackle one of the many problems in anaphora resolution unearthed in the anaphoric data already collected through the Phrase Detectives game and by the new games that will be developed in the project. We are looking for outstanding research potential and a background in machine learning, as well as, ideally, familiarity with computational semantics and computational approaches to discourse.

Candidates should have an outstanding research potential and a background in Computational Linguistics achieved first class honours degree or equivalent (and preferably a Masters degree) in Computer Science, Computational Linguistics, Linguistics, or a related field. Familiarity with computational and/or formal semantics and with computational and linguistic approaches to anaphora strongly preferred. Strong programming skills in Python or R crucial.

The PhD position will be joint between the Cognitive Science and the Games and AI Research Groups in EECS. The successful candidate will be supervised by Prof. Massimo Poesio, but will operate as part of a large research group including both researchers working on DALI and members of the Computational Linguistics group.

Informal enquiries can be made by email to Prof. Massimo Poesio (

To apply please follow the on-line process ( by selecting 'Computer Science' in the 'A-Z list of research opportunities' and following the instructions on the right hand side of the web page.

Please note that instead of the 'Research Proposal' we request a 'Statement of Research Interests'. Your Statement of Research Interest should answer two questions: (i) Why are you interested in the proposed area? (ii) What is your experience in the proposed area? Your statement should be brief: no more than 500 words or one side of A4 paper. In addition we would also like you to send a sample of your written work. This might be a chapter of your final year dissertation, or a published conference or journal paper. More details can be found at:

The closing date for applications is March 15th, 2018, followed by interviews in April. The starting date of the position will be subject to agreement.

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