Fellow: Lascarides
Elected: 2023
Discipline: Informatics, Mathematics and Statistics
Professor Alex Lascarides
Professor of Semantics, University of Edinburgh
Prof. Alex Lascarides’ research is in theoretical and computational linguistics and AI. Her research aims to model the semantics and pragmatics of communicative actions in conversation, mainly focussing on text and speech but also analysing non-verbal actions such as hand gestures.
She has developed logical and computational models of how humans communicate with each other, and machine learning frameworks that enable software agents and robots to engage in, and learn from, verbal and non-verbal interactions with humans. She has also developed models of conversation where the participants’ goals diverge (e.g., courtroom cross examination, negotiations over restricted resources and political debate), as well as cases where they align (e.g., tourist information, scheduling). A common underlying theme to all this work is to exploit models of discourse coherence to constrain the inferential processes that underly generating and interpreting language and gesture.
Prof. Lascarides also has an ongoing interest in developing machine learning methods for learning optimal strategies, particularly for complex games such as Settlers of Catan, or for decision problems where the agent starts out unaware of possible states and/or actions that are critical to task success.