Research Institute of Information and Language Processing (RIILP)

RIILP brings together two complementary and interdisciplinary research teams, the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group and the Research Group in Computational Linguistics, which explore the potential of advanced computing technologies for ‘understanding’ human language and social sciences, respectively. The results from REF 2014 confirm RIILP as one of the top performers in UK research. Both groups which form the institute are among the UK's leading groups in their fields.

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Recent highlights

  • A recent study investigated discussions of bullying online, finding that female influencers’ channels on YouTube are a useful resource to support victims of bullying.

  • During the first year of COVID-19 social distancing, we published reports on public reactions to the pandemic on social media, vaccine hesitancy, racism in reaction to the George Floyd killing, coronavirus academic publishing, and COVID-19-related disability issues.

  • 'Energy of the nation project' - illumination of the London Eye during the Olympic Games based on the positivity or negativity of the nation as expressed on Twitter - watch a video on Big Data about the research which made this project possible

  • The Research Group in Computational Linguistics (RGCL) has been successful in their application for a European Masters in Technology for Translation and Interpreting (EM TTI).  EM TTI will be run by the strong consortium consisting of the University of Wolverhampton, UK (the Coordinator); University of Malaga, SpainNew Bulgarian University, Bulgaria and Ghent University, Belgium and will deliver a cohesive, integrated European-wide programme. Bringing together these four Higher Education institutions, who are leading researchers in computational aspects of language study, as well as in state-of-the-art technology for translation and interpreting, will give the students access to high-profile academics and best practices across the field. Students on the two-year degree course have the opportunity to study at multiple universities and undertake industry placements related to their dissertation. EM TTI will produce specialists in translation and interpreting who are up-to-date with the latest applications which support their daily work. The disciplines involved are translation, interpreting, language technology, and linguistics.

  • Innovative new technology is being developed by Dr Victoria Yaneva to help people with autism read and understand text better. New web tool AUTOR relies on eye tracking technology to measure the accessibility of texts and pinpoint particular areas of difficulty in the text. Watch Victoria discuss AUTOR and her research.



This Institute conducts research in a number of areas at the interface of computers and human language, including the problems that computers have in coping with the complex and intuitive system that is human language.

It is also active in developing software and methodologies to exploit internet-based data sources for social sciences research – including social media analysis, scientometrics, altmetrics and webometrics.

Software and Consultancy to Support the Information Industry

Information industry actors have developed improved commercial tools and services, supporting the UK to become a world leader in one digital publishing sector with software, consultancy and indicators from the SCRG. Specifically, our methods and findings helped London-based Digital Science create research impact indicators and alternative impact indicators (altmetrics) for scholarly publications for their world-leading international products, and We helped UK non-profit Jisc evaluate the potential to develop commercial tools for the publishing industry and academia. We enabled international commercial software developers to deploy integrated social media analysis products through our sentiment analysis software.

Advice and Consultancy on Using Indicators to Help Evaluate Research Impacts

United Nations (UN) organisations evaluated their achievements and designed more effective future strategies with our reports on the web footprint of their impacts, empowering women and helping organisations and individuals addressing food poverty worldwide. The EU developed more informed research strategies helped by our researcher mobility contributions. The UK higher education sector used indicators appropriately to support research evaluation helped by our advice in multiple advisory groups and reports. The Belgian government made more informed decisions about future research funding with our web impact analyses on the varied contributions of different research groups.

Improving High-stakes Medical Examinations through Natural Language Processing

The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) is a not-for-profit organisation which develops and administers the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE), a compulsory exam for roughly 90,000 US medical students per year. The students who undertake this exam do so in order to obtain a medical license, without which they would not be allowed to practice medicine within the USA and Canada. NBME is, therefore, safeguarding the American public by ensuring that all practising physicians have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide high-quality healthcare. RGCL and NBME have collaborated since 2005, which has impacted on both public services through the adoption of new and improved technologies in the service that NBME provides (medical licensing exams) and on practitioners and the delivery of professional services through changes to workforce planning and assessment practice.

Language Technology to Improve Text Accessibility for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Work undertaken by the RGCL led to the development of new text simplification guidelines to make texts more accessible for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as software to support their implementation by users. This case study focuses on impacts relating to the experiences of service users from three different types of organisations: NHS Foundation Trusts; Non-Profit Associations Providing Services for People with ASD; and a Software Design and Development Company. These impacts occurred as a result of research being used by practitioners/ professionals in conducting their work, influencing professional standards and guidelines, and effecting change in educational practices in higher education beyond the submitting unit.


Research Areas

  • Particular specialisms include:Natural Language Processing (e.g., for Resource-Scarce Languages, Social Media data)
  • Machine learning and Representation
  • Learning for Natural Language Processing Machine Translation (along with Quality Evaluation and Quality Estimation)
  • Digital Humanities (e.g., Authorship Attribution for historical texts)
  • Anaphora resolution
  • Named entity recognition
  • Corpus development and exploitation
  • Gender differences in the social web
  • Scientometrics
  • Social web analysis methods

More information

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