FEATURE18 November 2022

Mirella Lapata in seven

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In the latest of a regular Impact series, Mirella Lapata, professor at the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, discusses natural language processing and the explosion of data.

Black and white photo portrait of Mirella Lapata

Mirella Lapata is a professor at the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, and affiliated with the Institute for Communication and Collaborative Systems and the Edinburgh Natural Language Processing Group. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Association for Computational Linguistics, and Academia Europaea.

1. What is the main focus of your current research?

It focuses on natural language processing (NLP), specifically the representation, extraction and generation of semantic information from structured and unstructured data,  involving text, images, video, and large-scale knowledge bases. My goal is to get computers to understand, reason with and generate natural language.

2. How do you see your role in pushing forward NLP?

I was recently awarded a UK Research and Innovation Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowship to work on reasoning, a skill that machines still lack and that humans are perfectly capable of. We have mastered the art of correlating and integrating different types of information from different sources, and re-using acquired experience and expertise to ...