Dominique Estival –
I received my
PhD in linguistics from the University of
Pennsylvania in 1986 with a thesis on diachronic syntax. While at UPenn, I also studied computational linguistics and got
interested in cognitive science. This allowed me to start working as a
computational linguist in industry after my PhD.
I started in a
machine translation company (Weidner, Chicago, USA; 1986-88), where I was in
charge of the French-English translation pair and then went to at Wang
Laboratories (Boston, USA; 1988-89), where I worked on the morphological
component and the lexicon for authoring tools. I then moved to ISSCO (Geneva, Switzerland; 1989-1995),
one of the oldest research centres in Natural Language Processing in
Europe. While at ISSCO, my main strand of research concerned grammar
formalisms for NLP and I took part in several European linguistic engineering
projects, in particular GRAAL
and TSNLP. I also participated
in the design and development of the ELU system, and between
1993 and 1996, I was a member of the Grammar
Formalism Working Group in the European EAGLES
In 1995, I
came to Australia to take up the position of lecturer in Computational
Linguistics at the University of Melbourne
(1995-1998), which was partly funded by the Microsoft
Research Institute. In my research at the U. of Melbourne, I pursued the
investigation of the computational modelling of language change, for which I
received a SIG in 1996 and a Small ARC grant in 1997. I also led a joint
project with the Computer Science Department for a Natural Language Interface
to a Small Robot (Estival, 1998).
Since then, I have been involved in helping establish
NLP and LT in Australia, in particular with the founding of ALTA, the Australasian Language Technology
Association, in 2001, and of OzCLO, the Australian Computational and Linguistics
Olympiad, in 2008.
I have been associated with the Language Technology
Group (LTG) at Macquarie University since 1996, becoming a board member when I
took the position of Head of the Natural Language Group at Syrinx Speech
Systems in 1999. I was appointed Associate Researcher and Visiting Fellow at
Macquarie between 2003 and 2008, while I was a Senior Research Scientist at the
Defence Science and Technology Organisation
(DSTO) and then Senior Manager at Appen in Sydney.
As an Honorary
Associate in the Department of Linguistics at the University
of Sydney, I taught the “Syntax” and “Syntax of English”
subjects in 2008-2010. I regularly give invited
lectures on “Human communication” in the Aviation course at the University of New South Wales.
Together with Jane Simpson, then at the University
of Sydney, and Rachel Nordlinger, at the University of Melbourne, I started the
organisation of the Australian Computational
and Linguistics Olympiad in 2009 and chaired its Steering Committee until
2013. While we have sent an Australian team to the International Linguistics
Olympiads (ILO) since 2009, OzCLO has now
expanded across Australia, with more than fifteen hundred high school students
competing in 2019. You can hear more about OzCLO in the Lingua Franca interview (ABC Radio,
September 2009), and in the PM radio
program (ABC Radio, February 2010).
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