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Dr Paul Piwek

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Professional biography

Paul holds first-class degrees from the Universities of Tilburg and Amsterdam in the Netherlands (both cum laude). He studied computational linguistics and philosophy (Tilburg) and the philosophy of linguistics and cognitive science (Amsterdam). He gained his PhD in 1998 at the Institute for Perception Research (Eindhoven University and Philips Research) with his thesis entitled Logic, Information & Conversation. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer (i.e. Associate Professor) in computing at the Open University.

He has been leading several research projects at the Open University:

  • Principal Investigator at lead research organisation of the EPSRC Opening Up Minds: Engaging Dialogue Generated From Argument Maps project (2021-2023). (External funding: £730K of which £250K to the OU)
  • Principal Investigator at the OU on the NESTA DataMIX project (Lead partner/coordinator: Hua Dong at Brunel) which explores more inclusive means of communicating data (2008 - 2012). (External funding: £12K)
  • Principal Investigator on the EPSRC CODA project - Coherent Dialogue Automatically generated from text (2009 - 2011). (External funding: £170K)

His research has been published in journals (including Artificial Intelligence, Synthese, Journal of Logic, Language & Information, and the Journal of Pragmatics), conference proceedings (including ACL, COLING, EACL, IVA, and NAACL) and as (invited) book chapters.

Research interests

Paul's aim is to help people process, understand, reason with, argue about and ultimately, make better decisions with information, by developing flexible ways to communicate and interact with information.

To address his aim, he investigates the following overall research question: How do we, humans, use language to communicate information? This has led him to research which addresses a number of subquestions such as:

  • What is it that allows us to communicate information about objects, people, events, situations and even abstract ideas by producing certain noises or making ink marks on a piece of paper?
  • How do we use language and gestures, such as pointing, to refer to the things in our surroundings?
  • What makes us ask a question?
  • What role do reasoning and argumentation play in our ability to communicate with each other?

He studies these questions by analysing data of human-human and human-machine communication and constructing computer programs that simulate how people produce and understand language. His work draws on insights and ideas from several fields of study including linguistics, computer science, philosophy and cognitive science.

Teaching interests

Paul has chaired two large undergraduate Computing and IT modules:

  • Introduction to Computing and IT 2 (TM112)
  • Algorithms, data structures and computability (M269)

and written course materials for these and other Open University modules including course materials on:

  • how to analyse and construct arguments using the argument mapping technique,
  • computational thinkingproof, computability and computational complexity,
  • programming and problem solving in Python,
  • legal, social, security and ethical implications of information technologies.

He has undertaken several research and scholarship projects related to his teaching:

Paul has led the development of two resources for OpenLearn:

Impact and engagement

Paul's research is complemented by several initiatives that translate the results from this work into tools that help people navigate, communicate, reason with and use information more effectively. Following up on the EPSRC CODA project, the Papworth Trust commissioned videos that were generated from their information leaflets for service users using CODA Monologue-to-Dialogue technology; the videos are available on the Papworth Trust's YouTube Channel, see e.g. User Involvement Promise

Additionally, Paul has, partly in his capacity as AISB committee member responsible for the public understanding of artificial intelligence, been involved in several public engagement activities:

External collaborations

Paul has edited special issues of journals such as Discourse Processes, the Journal of Logic, Language and Information, Language & Computation and Discourse & Dialogue, and co-chaired several workshops and conferences, including:

In 2019, he was area chair for generation at ACL. In 2020, he is remote presentations co-chair for COLING2020. Also, since 2019, he is a committee member of AISB (responsible for the public understanding of AI). Paul is a member of the editorial board of the Dialogue & Discourse journal and editor for the PhilPapers category on Inferentialist Accounts of Meaning and Content.

Paul is involved in an ongoing collaboration with Prendinger Lab at the National Institute for Informatics in Tokyo.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
CRC (LM & KT): Natural Language GenerationGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
CRC (LM & KT): Natural Language ProcessingGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
CRC: Language, Multimedia and Knowledge TechnologiesGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology

Publications

Sentiment and behaviour annotation in a corpus of dialogue summaries (2015-04-01)
Roman, Norton Trevisan; Piwek, Paul; Carvalho, Ariadne Maria Brito Rizzoni and Alvares, Alexandre Rossi
Journal of Universal Computer Science, 21(4) (pp. 561-586)


A detailed account of the First Question Generation Shared Task Evaluation challenge (2012-03)
Rus, Vasile; Wyse, Brendan; Piwek, Paul; Lintean, Mihai; Stoyanchev, Svetlana and Moldovan, Cristian
Dialogue & Discourse, 3(2) (pp. 177-204)


Varieties of Question Generation: introduction to this special issue (2012-03)
Piwek, Paul and Boyer, Kristy Elizabeth
Dialogue & Discourse, 3(2) (pp. 1-9)


Dialogue structure and logical expressivism (2011-10-11)
Piwek, Paul
Synthese, 183(Suppl. 1) (pp. 33-58)


'Proximal' and 'distal' in language and cognition: Evidence from deictic demonstratives in Dutch (2008-04)
Piwek, Paul; Beun, Robbert-Jan and Cremers, Anita
Journal of Pragmatics, 40(4) (pp. 694-718)


Natural language processing in CLIME, a multilingual legal advisory system (2008-01)
Evans, Roger; Piwek, Paul; Cahill, Lynne and Tipper, Neil
Natural Language Engineering, 14(1) (pp. 101-132)


Fully generated scripted dialogue for embodied agents (2008)
van Deemter, Kees; Krenn, Brigitte; Piwek, Paul; Klesen, Martin; Schröder, Marc and Baumann, Stefan
Artificial Intelligence, 172(10) (pp. 1219-1244)


Meaning and Dialogue Coherence: A Proof-theoretic Investigation (2007-10)
Piwek, Paul
Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 16(4) (pp. 403-421)


Generating under global constraints: the case of scripted dialogue (2007-06)
Piwek, Paul and Van Deemter, Kees
Research on Language and Computation, 5(2) (pp. 237-263)


Perspectives on dialogue: Introduction to this special issue (2006-02-24)
Piwek, Paul
Research on Language and Computation, 4(2-3) (pp. 143-152)


Dialogue with computers: dialogue games in action (2017-01-01)
Piwek, Paul
In: Mildorf, Jarmila and Thomas, Bronwen eds. Dialogue across Media. Dialogue studies (28) (pp. 179-202)
ISBN : 9789027210456 | Publisher : John Benjamins | Published : Amsterdam


Three principles of information flow: conversation as a dialogue game (2011-04-11)
Piwek, Paul
In: Ramage, Magnus and Chapman, David eds. Perspectives on Information. Routledge Studies in Library and Information Science (9) (pp. 106-120)
ISBN : 9780415884105 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : New York, USA


Generating Dialogues for Virtual Agents Using Nested Textual Coherence Relations (2008)
Hernault, Hugo; Piwek, Paul; Prendinger, Helmut and Ishizuka, Mitsuru
In: Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 139-145)
ISBN : 978-3-540-85482-1 | Publisher : Springer


Politeness and bias in dialogue summarization: two exploratory studies (2006)
Roman, Norton; Piwek, Paul and Carvalho, Ariadne M.B.R.
In: Shanahan, James G.; Qu, Yan and Wiebe, Janyce eds. Computing attitude and affect in text: theory and applications. The Information Retrieval Series (20)
ISBN : 1402040261 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Dordrecht, The Netherlands


Generating multimedia presentations: from plain text to screenplay (2005)
Piwek, Paul; Power, Richard; Scott, Donia and Van Deemter, Kees
In: Stock, Oliviero and Zancanaro, Massimo eds. Multimodal intelligent information presentation. Text, speech and language technology (pp. 203-226)
ISBN : 1402030495 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Dordrecht, The Netherlands


Relating imperatives to action (2001)
Piwek, Paul
In: Bunt, Harry and Beun, Robbert-Jan eds. Cooperative multimodal communication. Lecture notes in artificial intelligence series (pp. 140-155)
Publisher : Springer | Published : Berlin, Germany


Multimodal Cooperative Resolution of Referential Expressions in the DENK System (2001)
Kievit, Leen; Piwek, Paul; Beun, Robbert-Jan and Bunt, Harry
In: Cooperative Multimodal Communication (pp. 197-216)
ISBN : 978-3-540-42806-0 | Publisher : Springer


Presuppositions in Context: Constructing Bridges (2000-07)
Piwek, P. and Krahmer, E.
In: Bonzon, P.; Cavalcanti, M. and Nossum, R. eds. Formal Aspects of Context. Applied Logic Series (pp. 85-106)
ISBN : 792363507 | Publisher : Kluwer Academic Publishers | Published : Dordrecht


Presupposition projection as proof construction (1999)
Krahmer, Emiel and Piwek, Paul
In: Bunt, Harry and Muskens, Reinhard eds. Computing Meaning. Studies in Linguistics & Philosophy (pp. 281-300)
Publisher : Kluwer Academic Publishers | Published : Dordrecht


Proceedings of QG2010: The Third Workshop on Question Generation (2010-06-18)
Boyer, Kristy Elizabeth and Piwek, Paul
Boyer, Kristy Elizabeth and Piwek, Paul eds.
Publisher : questiongeneration.org | Published : Pittsburgh


Challenges with Learning to Program and Problem Solve: An Analysis of Student Online Discussions (2020)
Piwek, Paul and Savage, Simon
In : The 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’20) (11-14 Mar 2020, Portland, OR, USA)


Learning to program: from problems to code (2019-01-09)
Piwek, Paul; Wermelinger, Michel; Laney, Robin and Walker, Richard
In : Third Conference in Computing Education Practice (CEP) (9 Jan 2019, Durham, UK)


Agreement is overrated: A plea for correlation to assess human evaluation reliability (2019)
Amidei, Jacopo; Piwek, Paul and Willis, Alistair
In : Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Natural Language Generation (29 Oct - 1 Nov 2019, Tokyo, Japan)


The use of rating and Likert scales in Natural Language Generation human evaluation tasks: A review and some recommendations (2019)
Amidei, Jacopo; Piwek, Paul and Willis, Alistair
In : Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Natural Language Generation (29 Oct - 1 Nov 2019, Tokyo, Japan)


Evaluation methodologies in Automatic Question Generation 2013-2018 (2018-11-06)
Amidei, Jacopo; Piwek, Paul and Willis, Alistair
In : Proceedings of The 11th International Natural Language Generation Conference (5-8 Nov 2018, Tilburg, The Netherlands) (pp. 307-317)


Rethinking the Agreement in Human Evaluation Tasks (2018)
Amidei, Jacopo; Piwek, Paul and Willis, Alistair
In : Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (20-26 Aug 2018, Santa Fe, New Mexico) (pp. 3318-3329)


A model of suspense for narrative generation (2017)
Doust, Richard and Piwek, Paul
In : 10th International Conference on Natural Language Generation (4-7 Sep 2017, Santiago de Compostela) (pp. 178-187)


Measuring Non-cooperation in Dialogue (2016-12-31)
Plüss, Brian and Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 2016) (11-16 Dec 2016, Osaka, Japan)


Collecting Reliable Human Judgements on Machine-Generated Language: The Case of the QG-STEC Data (2016-09-08)
Godwin, Keith and Piwek, Paul
In : 9th International Natural Language Generation Conference (5-8 Sep 2016, Edinburgh, UK) (pp. 212-216)


Towards explaining rebuttals in security arguments (2014-12-10)
Yu, Yijun; Piwek, Paul; Tun, Thein Than and Nuseibeh, Bashar
In : 14th Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument (10 Dec 2014, Krakow, Poland)


Towards a computational account of inferentialist meaning (2014-04-03)
Piwek, Paul
In : 50th Annual Convention of the AISB (AISB50) (1-4 Apr 2014, London, UK)


Introducing a corpus of human-authored dialogue summaries in Portuguese (2013-09)
Trevisan Roman, Norton; Piwek, Paul; M. B. Rizzoni Carvalho, Ariadne and Rossi Alvares, Alexandre
In : International Conference Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2013) (7-13 Sep 2013, Hissar, Bulgaria)


Predicting the understandability of OWL inferences (2013-05)
Nguyen, Tu Anh T.; Power, Richard; Piwek, Paul and Williams, Sandra
In : Extended Semantic Web Conference 2013 (ESWC 2013) - Research Track (26 May to 30 May 2013, Montpellier, France) (pp. 109-123)


Supporting computing and technology distance learning students with developing argumentation skills (2013-03)
Piwek, Paul
In : IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON 2013) (12-15 Mar 2013, Berlin)


Measuring the understandability of deduction rules for OWL (2012-10)
Nguyen, Tu; Power, Richard; Piwek, Paul and Williams, Sandra
In : First International Workshop on Debugging Ontologies and Ontology Mappings (8 Oct 2012, Galway, Ireland)


Fully automated generation of question-answer pairs for scripted virtual instruction (2012-09)
Kuyten, Pascal; Bickmore, Timothy; Stoyanchev, Svetlana; Piwek, Paul; Prendinger, Helmut and Ishizuka, Mitsuru
In : 12th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (12-14 Sep 2012, Santa Cruz, CA, USA)


Planning accessible explanations for entailments in OWL ontologies (2012-05)
Nguyen, Tu Anh T.; Power, Richard; Piwek, Paul and Williams, Sandra
In : 7th International Natural Language Generation Conference (INLG 2012) (30 May - 1 Jun 2012, Utica, IL, USA) (pp. 110-114)


Modelling non-cooperative dialogue: the role of conversational games and discourse obligations (2011-09)
Plüss, Brian; Piwek, Paul and Power, Richard
In : 15th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (21-23 Sep 2011, Los Angeles) (pp. 212-213)


Data-oriented monologue-to-dialogue generation (2011-06)
Piwek, Paul and Stoyanchev, Svetlana
In : 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics:shortpapers (19-24 Jun 2011, Portland, Oregon) (pp. 242-247)


The CODA system for monologue-to-dialogue generation (2011-06)
Stoyanchev, Svetlana and Piwek, Paul
In : 12th Annual Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue (17-18 Jun 2011, Portland, Oregon, USA)


Comparing Modes of Information Presentation: Text versus ECA and Single versus Two ECAs (2011)
Stoyanchev, Svetlana; Piwek, Paul and Prendinger, Helmut
In : Intelligent Virtual Agents (14-17 Sep 2011, Reykjavik, Iceland)


Harvesting re-usable high-level rules for expository dialogue generation (2010-07)
Stoyanchev, Svetlana and Piwek, Paul
In : 6th International Natural Language Generation Conference (INLG 2010) (7-8 Jul 2010, Dublin, Ireland)


The First Question Generation Shared Task Evaluation Challenge (2010-07)
Rus, Vasile; Wyse, Brendan; Piwek, Paul; Lintean, Mihai; Stoyanchev, Svetlana and Moldovan, Cristian
In : Proceedings of the Sixth International Natural Language Generation Conference (INLG 2010) (7-9 Jul 2010, Trim Castle, Ireland)


Generating expository dialogue from monologue: Motivation, corpus and preliminary rules (2010-06-01)
Piwek, Paul and Stoyanchev, Svetlana
In : 11th Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Forthcoming) (1-6 Jun 2010, Los Angeles)


Question generation in the CODA project (2010-06)
Piwek, Paul and Stoyanchev, Svetlana
In : The Third Workshop on Question Generation (18 Jun 2010, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)


Constructing the CODA corpus: A parallel corpus ofmonologues and expository dialogues (2010-05-18)
Stoyanchev, Svetlana and Piwek, Paul
In : The seventh international conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC) (Forthcoming) (18-21 May 2010, Malta)


Making tacit requirements explicit (2009-09-01)
Gacitua, R.; Ma, L.; Nuseibeh, B.; Piwek, P.; De Roeck, A.; Rouncefield, M.; Sawyer, P.; Willis, A. and Yang, H.
In : Second International Workshop on Managing Requirements Knowledge (MaRK’09) (1 Sep 2009, Altanta, USA)


On presuppositions in requirements (2009-09)
Ma, Lin; Nuseibeh, Bashar; Piwek, Paul; De Roeck, Anne and Willis, Alistair
In : 2009 Second International Workshop on Managing Requirements Knowledge (MaRK'09) (1 Sep 2009, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)


Salience and pointing in multimodal reference (2009-07-29)
Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the gap between computational and empirical approaches to generating reference (PRE-CogSci 2009) (29 Jul 2009, Amsterdam)


Salience in the generation of multimodal referring acts (2009)
Piwek, Paul
In : 2009 International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces (2-6 Nov 2009, Cambridge, Mass) (p 207)


Generating questions from OpenLearn study units (2009)
Wyse, Brendan and Piwek, Paul
In : AIED 2009 Workshop Proceedings Volume 1: The 2nd Workshop on Question Generation (6-9 Jul 2009, Brighton, UK)


Effective tutoring with affective embodied conversational agents (2009)
Moyo, Sharon and Piwek, Paul
In : 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (6-10 Jul 2009, Brighton, UK) (pp. 767-768)


Simulating emotional reactions in medical dramas (2008)
Williams, Sandra; Power, Richard and Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of the Symposium on Affective Language in Human and Machine, Volume 2, The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB) 2008 Convention: Communication, Interaction and Social Intelligence (1-2 Apr 2008, Aberdeen, UK)


Presenting Arguments as Fictive Dialogue (2008)
Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of 8th Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument (CMNA08; in conjunction with ECAI 2008) (21 Jul 2008, Patras, Greece)


T2D: Generating Dialogues Between Virtual Agents Automatically from Text (2007-09)
Piwek, Paul; Hernault, Hugo; Prendinger, Helmut and Ishizuka, Mitsuru
In : Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (17-19 Sep 2007, Paris) (pp. 161-174)


Modality Choice for Generation of Referring Acts: Pointing versus Describing (2007-01)
Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of Workshop on Multimodal Output Generation (MOG 2007) (25-26 Jan 2007, Aberdeen, Scotland) (pp. 129-139)


Generating monologue and dialogue to present personalised medical information to patients (2007)
Williams, Sandra; Piwek, Paul and Power, Richard
In : Proceedings of the 11th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation (17-20 Jun 2007)


Dialogue Games for Crosslingual Communication (2007)
Piwek, Paul; Hardcastle, David and Power, Richard
In : Proceedings of DECALOG, The 2007 Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (1 May - 30 Jun 2007, University of Trento, Italy)


The ALLIGATOR Theorem Prover for Dependent Type Systems: Description and Proof Sample (2006)
Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Inference in Computational Semantics (ICoS-5) (20-21 Apr 2006, Buxton, UK)


Reference and Gestures in Dialogue Generation: Three Studies with Embodied Conversational Agents (2005)
Piwek, Paul; Masthoff, Judith and Bergenstrahle, Malin
In : Proceedings of AISB05 Joint Symposium on Virtual Social Agents Symposium (12-15 Apr 2005, University of Herfordshire, UK)


A Flexible pragmatics-driven language generator for animated agents (2003)
Piwek, Paul
In : 10th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (12-17 Apr 2003, Budapest, Hungary)


RRL: A Rich Representation Language for the Description of Agent Behaviour in NECA (2002-07)
Piwek, Paul; Krenn, Brigitte; Schroeder, Marc; Grice, Martine; Baumann, Stefan and Pirker, Hannes
In : Proceedings of AAMAS 2002 workshop: Embodied conversational agents - let's specify and evaluate them! (2002, Bologna, Italy)


Generation of multi-modal dialogue for a net environment (2002)
Krenn, B.; Pirker, H.; Grice, M.; Baumann, S.; Piwek, P.; van Deemter, K.; Schroeder, M.; Klesen, M. and Gstrein, E.
In : Proceedings of KONVENS-02 (30 Sep - 02 Oct 2002, Saarbruecken, Germany)


Towards automated generation of scripted dialogue: some time-honoured strategies (2002)
Piwek, Paul and van Deemter, Kees
In : Proceedings of EDILOG: 6th workshop on the semantics and pragmatics of dialogue (4-6 Sep 2002, Edinburgh, UK)


A Formal Semantics for Editing and Generating Plurals (2000)
Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of the 18th conference on Computational linguistics (31 Jul - 4 Aug 2000, Saarbrücken, Germany) (pp. 607-613)


Accent Interpretation, Anaphora Resolution and Implicature Derivation (1997)
Piwek, Paul
In : Proceedings of the 11th Amsterdam Colloquium (17-20 Dec 1997, University of Amsterdam) (pp. 55-60)


Full report on challenges with learning to program and problem solve: an analysis of first year undergraduate Open University distance learning students' online discussions (2019-12-01)
Savage, Simon and Piwek, Paul
The Open University, Milton Keynes.


Dialogue and Discourse, Vol. 3, No.2: Special Issue on Question Generation (2012-03)
Piwek, Paul and Boyer, Kristy Elizabeth
Dialogue and Discourse (D&D)


Justification Patterns for OWL DL Ontologies (2011-05-25)
Nguyen, Tu Anh T.; Power, Richard; Piwek, Paul and Williams, Sandra
Department of Computing, The Open University