Dr Graham Wilcock

University Lecturer, Adjunct Professor
Department of Modern Languages
University of Helsinki
00014 Helsinki, Finland 

email: graham dot wilcock at helsinki dot fi
phone: +358-9-191-29331
fax: +358-9-191-28313


For many years I worked in the European computer industry as a systems software engineer with ICL (International Computers Limited) in England and in Luxembourg. This included VME operating system debugging, EU database support and Unix GUI development, programming in machine code, S3 and C.

My first in-depth experience in language technology was gained on a UK national research project in Japanese-English machine translation at University of Sheffield (1985-89). The partners were ICL, University of Sheffield Centre for Japanese Studies and University of Manchester (UMIST) Centre for Computational Linguistics. Incidentally, my first academic publication (COLING-90), based on this project, was published in Helsinki.

I spent the 1990's commuting regularly between England and Japan, as a Senior Research Scientist employed by Sharp Corporation (1989-98). My time was divided between developing machine translation systems at Sharp's Information Systems Laboratories in Nara and doing research in computational linguistics at UMIST in Manchester. During this period I completed my PhD at University of Manchester. My thesis title was Natural Language Generation with Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar.

I've taught at 4 different UK universities, as Temporary Lecturer in Linguistics at University of Manchester (UMIST) (1998-9), Tutor in Software Engineering with the Open University (1999-2000), Lecturer in Computer Science at University of Hull Centre for Internet Computing (2000-1), and Lecturer in Translation and Language Engineering at Imperial College London (2004-5).

Since 2001 I've taught language technology at University of Helsinki, with one year's leave of absence (2004-5). I hold two positions: University Lecturer and Adjunct Professor.

In 2008 I received an IBM Innovation Award for work on Unstructured Information Analytics.


My main research areas have been machine translation, Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), natural language generation, spoken dialogue systems, the semantic web, linguistic annotation, and text analytics. In machine translation, I worked on Japanese-to-English translation systems both in academic projects (COLING-90) and in industry (Sharp Corporation's DUET system).

In HPSG, I developed implementations using ALE and ProFIT (HPSG-96, COLING-96) and worked on theoretical problems in head-driven generation (COLING-98), contextual background features (CSLI-99), and information structure (CSLI-05). I developed an OWL ontology for HPSG (ACL-07) and linked the HPSG ontology to the General Ontology for Linguistic Description (GOLD) by means of a community of practice extension (COPE).

In natural language generation, I worked with Systemic Functional Grammar for my MSc thesis (1993) and with HPSG for my PhD thesis (1998). I developed an approach to shallow XML-based natural language generation (NLPXML-2001, BalticHLT-05). I was co-organizer of 10th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation (Aberdeen, 2005).

In spoken dialogue systems, I worked with my wife Kristiina Jokinen (the Secretary of SIGDIAL) on adaptivity in response generation for the Finnish USIX Interact project (SIGDIAL-01, SIGDIAL-02). We also worked on generation models for spoken dialogues (AAAI-03) and the role of ontologies in dialogue systems (IJCAI-03 workshop). We studied SCXML as a basis for interactive voice applications (BalticHLT-07, W3C-MMI-07).

In the semantic web area, I worked on ontology verbalization (ISWC2003 workshop). I was co-organizer of Language Technology and the Semantic Web at EACL-03 and RDF and OWL in Language Technology at ACL-04. I worked on integrating theory-specific and theory-neutral ontologies (Protégé-2006) and on natural language parsing using OWL and SWRL (RuleML-2006). I was on the program committees for ISWC 2006, ESWC 2008 and ESWC 2009.

In linguistic annotation, I was co-organizer of the NLPXML series of workshops, from 2nd Workshop on NLP and XML at COLING-02 to Multi-dimensional Markup in Natural Language Processing at EACL-06. I was co-chair of The Linguistic Annotation Workshop (The LAW) at ACL-07 and was on the program committee for LAW-II at LREC 2008. I gave a tutorial on Annotation Interchange at LREC 2010.

In text analytics, I worked with OpenNLP and Apache UIMA, and received an IBM UIMA Innovation Award in 2008. In 2009 I gave a series of tutorials on OpenNLP and UIMA in Scandinavia (Nodalida-2009), France (LSM-2009) and Germany (GSCL-2009). I was on the program committees for several UIMA workshops at LREC 2008, GSCL-2009, LREC 2010, GSCL-2013.


See my publications list. My papers on HPSG are included in the online HPSG bibliography. One of my book chapters has been translated into Chinese.

My book Introduction to Linguistic Annotation and Text Analytics was published in 2009 by Morgan and Claypool.


I teach the following courses at University of Helsinki. All the courses use web-based learning materials.

Undergraduate (Bachelor) level

Graduate (Master) level

Past courses

External courses

I have taught the following courses at Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu, Estonia: