I am Reader in Computational Linguistics in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. I am joint head of the Computational Linguistics Lab and deputy head of the Cognitive Science research group; I'm also a member of the Centre for Intelligent Sensing and the Centre for Digital Music. Beyond that, I co-founded Chatterbox Labs in 2011.
My main research interest is in the computational semantics and pragmatics of dialogue - using the context of a conversation to build models of what people are actually talking about. I am on the advisory boards for:
- SIGDIAL, the ACL/ISCA special interest group for discourse and dialogue
- SIGSEM, the ACL special interest group on computational semantics
- SEMDIAL, the series of workshops on the semantics and pragmatics of dialogue.
I'm area chair for Dialogue & Interactive Systems at ACL 2016, and one of the organisers for the upcoming (Sep 2016) CC-NLG workshop on creative natural language generation, attached to INLG 2016 at Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh. I recently helped organise the ENLG 2015 workshop in Brighton, and co-chaired (with Matthew Stone and Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh) the IWCS 2015 conference here at QMUL. Previously I have acted as co-chair for EMNLP 2013's Discourse, Dialogue & Pragmatics area, for SemDial 2010 (PozDial) and acted as local organiser for SIGDIAL 2009 (which we hosted here at QMUL).
Before arriving at QMUL in 2009, I worked in the Computational Semantics Lab at CSLI, Stanford, on projects building an automatic meeting-understanding system and a conversational dialogue system for cars. Prior to that I did my PhD at King's College London with Jonathan Ginzburg, looking at clarificational dialogue and what it means for dialogue systems; and my BA and MPhil at Cambridge where I was lucky enough to be supervised by Karen Spärck Jones. In between, I spent 8 years as an engineer in the field of active noise & vibration control, mostly with Ultra Electronics and Noise Cancellation Technologies.
During 2008, I spent a year travelling around Europe, Turkey, North and West Africa with my wife (a professional chef and culinary anthropologist) to learn all about food and its traditions. You can read all about it here. As a result of that we're now trying to renovate an old stone farmhouse in Istria, Croatia to become a culinary destination ...
My brother is the artist Ed Purver who won the 2010 Celeste Prize for his video work "In Residence". My sister is the structural engineer Kate Purver who designs things like the Kew Gardens Aerial Walkway.