Department of Computer Science
University of Sheffield
Regent Court, 211 Portobello Street
Sheffield S1 4DP
phone : (0114) 222 1930 www :
fax :(0114) 222 1810

Personal Details

Surname Bontcheva
Fornames Kalina

Academic training

January 2002 PhD in Computer Science
Title: Generating Adaptive Hypertext
Computer Science Department, University of Sheffield
1996-99 Postgraduate student
Computer Science Department, University of Sheffield
Supervisor: Prof. Y. Wilks
1995 Visiting student at the Natural Language Group
CS Department, Hamburg University
1990–95 BSc. + MSc. in Computer Science, University of Sofia
1990–93 Sofia English Language College
graduated as a private student)
1985–90 Sofia Central Mathematics College

Current Employment

July 1999- Senior Researcher: Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sheffield

Previous Appointments

August 2003 Visiting researcher
Center for Language and Speech Processing, Johns Hopkins University
Sept-Dec 2000 Part-time Teaching (incl. 4 lectures)
‘Programming and Problem Solvingin Java’ course
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sheffield
1998–99 Part-time Teaching Assistant
Several Java courses for undergraduate and MSc students, including programming, HCI, and software engineering
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sheffield
1997 Part-time Teaching Assistant for Modula-2 and C courses
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sheffield
1995-96 Researcher on Language Generation and Machine Aided Translation projects
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), Linguistic Modelling Lab (LML)


Research Areas

Research Projects

Nov 2012 - present uComp: Embedded Human Computation for Knowledge Extraction and Evaluation
The project is building upon the emerging field of Human Computation (HC) in the tradition of games with a purpose and crowdsourcing marketplaces. It is developing a scalable and generic HC framework for knowledge extraction and evaluation, as well as collection of linguistic resources (e.g. sentiment lexicons, named entity annotated social media corpora). A core part of the HC framework is delegating the most challenging tasks to large communities of users and continuously learning from their feedback to optimise automated methods as part of an iterative process.
Oct 2013 - present DecarboNet
DecarboNet is building a decarbonisation platform for translating collective awareness of climate change into behavioural change. Our role is to analyse social media content for events, opinions, and arguments around climate change, making use of relevant knowledge in Linked Open Data.
Oct 2010 - present Personalised Summarisation of Social Media
An EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship (budget £560k). I investigate and evaluate methods for personalised, abstractive multi-document summarisation across different social media. For example, diachronic summaries that combine Twitter posts, blog articles, and Facebook wall messages on a given topic. A key novel contribution of the work will be personalising the summaries, based on a model of user interests, goals, and social context, and thus help users with sensemaking and content interpretation.
Nov 2011 - present TrendMiner: Large-scale, Cross-lingual Trend Mining and Summarisation of Realtime Media Streams
An EU-funded STREP project, where I am one of the principal investigators (Sheffield budget 492k euro; project budget 2.1 million euro). We are carrying out research on ontology-based information extraction (using Linked Open Data) and extractive, interactive summarisation methods for social media.
June 2012 - Jan 2013 EnviLOD: Semantic Enrichment and Semantic Search with Linked Open Data (LOD)
I lead the development of GATE-based tools for efficient LOD-based semantic enrichment and evaluated these, both quantitatively and with end-users and other stakeholders. I also co-designed and evaluated an intuitive user interface for semantic search, that hides the complexities of the SPARQL semantic search language, while allowing users to search successfully, using LOD vocabularies.
Feb 2011 - Oct 2011 GateCloud Exploratory
An EPSRC/JISC funded project, where I was a Co-Investigator (budget £71k). Research on adapting the General Architecture for Text Engineering to Cloud Computing. Running demonstrator at For details see this journal paper on GateCloud.
2006-2009 MUSING EU-funded Integrated Project on the Next Generation Business Intelligence
I am the Principal Investigator of the Sheffield grant (1,120,614 euros) within the project, which involves 15 other partners. The research is focused on ontology-based Information Extraction, with practical applications in financial risk management, internationalisation, and IT operational risk management. The project will run for 4 years aiming to deliver initial results in the next 18 months to align with Basel II.
2009-2010 TextVRE JISC-funded Project with KCL CeRch, School of Humanities, Sheffield, Gottingen Libraries
Co-Investigator of the Sheffield team (budget £24k). Research on a virtual research environment for e-humanities textual studies, providing web-based automatic text annotation services and a virtual research environment to facilitate collaboration and text analysis.
1998-2012 GATE – General Architecture for Text Engineering,
I am involved in the design and development of re-usable, robust language engineering tools, based on commercial technologies – XML, Java,Web services (see I also integrated GATE with an audio-visual architecture in order to support multimedia corpora; was involved in the design and testing of the GATE machine learning facilities; lead the development of the Semantic Web-oriented and distributed web-based annotation components; and integrated my language generation modules. I consult colleagues on developing and integrating GATE-based modules for their projects.
2008-2009 ServiceFinder EU-funded Strategic Targeted Research Project on Web Service Discovery
I am the project Principal Investigator of the Sheffield grant (244,000 euros), which involves 4 other partners. Research on text mining and annotation of web services to aid their automatic discovery.
2006-2009 TAO EU-funded Strategic Targeted Research Project on Transitioning Applications to Ontologies
I am the project co-ordinator and the Principal Investigator of the Sheffield grant (839,670 euros), which involves 6 other partners. GATE is being used as a case study in this project, which aims to assist the migration of existing ‘legacy’ applications to open, semantics-based service architectures. In addition, customised information extraction tools are being developed, in order to provide semantic-based access to continuously updated content, such as software documentation and code, mailing list postings, database content, and industry standards.
2004-2006 SEKT EU-funded Integrated Project on Semantically Enabled Knowledge Technologies
My research focused on integration of Human Language Technology with Knowledge Discovery and ontologies for knowledge management, ontology based Information Extraction for metadata generation, and its evaluation. The techniques are applied in the British Telecom digital library and also for intranet document management in Siemens.
2001-2004 MIAKT e-science & AKT – Advanced Knowledge Technologies projects
My research in these projects was oriented towards building robust and customisable tools for knowledge publishing (using natural language generation techniques). The challenging aspects of this work came from the need to generate text from a variety of knowledge sources (e.g., ontologies, information extraction results) none of which were created or specifically adapted for generation. The application was the e-science project MIAKT, where these tools were be deployed as Web services. I was also the technical manager at Sheffield for the MIAKT project.
July-August 2003 JHU workshop on Semantic Analysis over Sparse Data
I was a visiting researcher at Johns Hopkins University for 6 weeks, involved in the development of machine learning-based methods to solving the data sparseness problem that is encountered in many areas of natural language processing such as language modeling, text classification, question answering and information extraction.
1996-2001 HYLITE – A system for generation of adaptive hypertext explanations
Knowledge-based approach combined with a pragmatics model of agent attitudes
Novel aspects: use of a nested model of agent attitudes (ViewGen); use of techniques from human-computer interaction and software engineering to design and evaluate the system; use of a large-scale lexical resource to bootstrap the creation of the system-specific lexicon and knowledge base.


Master Class

2007 NLP master-class for 15-18 year old school children.
Covered general introduction or NLP, followed by practical, hands-on exercise.
Aimed at raising awareness of science and AI in general for young children.

Tutorials at International Conferences

2014 NLP for Social Media at EACL 2014
2013 Semantic Search at the PROMISE Winter School 2013
2008 Transitioning Legacy Applications to Ontologies: A Hands-on Tutorial at European Semantic Web Conferences
2004-2006 Tutorials on Human Language Technology for Knowledge Management and the Semantic Web at the European Semantic Web Conferences
2003 Tutorial on Named Entity Recognition at RANLP 2003

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Teaching

December 2013 NLP for social media, a week long course for PhD students in Szeged, Hungary
September 2007 Week-long NLP course at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona
Sept-Dec 2000 Part-time Teaching Assistant (incl. 4 lectures)
‘Programming and Problem Solving in Java’ course
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sheffield
1998–99 Part-time Teaching Assistant
Several Java courses for undergraduate and MSc students (programming, HCI, software engineering)
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sheffield
1997 Part-time Teaching Assistant for Modula-2 and C courses
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sheffield

Research Supervision

I currently supervise four PhD students (Dominic Rout, Konstantin Yershov, Michal Lukasik, and Nattapong Sanchan) and in the process of recruiting a fifth. Dominic is now at the start of his third year, whereas all others are first year PhD students.

I also lead a team of four post-doctoral researchers, working with me on NLP for social media, as part of the uComp, DecarboNet, and TrendMiner projects.

In 2012 - 2013 I co-supervised an undergraduate student project with Dr. Simon Tucker, on the topic of social media filtering tools.

In 2002 I co-supervised with Prof. Hamish Cunningham an MSc student from Sofia University who completed a very successful final year project, which forms part of the GATE research work.

Administrative Tasks

Principal investigator: As a principal investigator on 3 large EU grants, I frequently liase with the university's research office on project accounts, legal and contractual matters, staffing, IPR, and gender equality.

Project coordination: As a coordinator of an EU project, from January 2014 I will have a number of administrative tasks: periodical reporting to the EC; periodic review of project finances, projected and actual spending and effort; timely delivery of project results to the EC.

Committee membership: In 2013 I was elected a member of the staffing committee at the Department of Computer Science, Sheffield. I also became an academic representative on the department's Gender Equality and Diversity Committee. In 2012 and part of 2013 I also represented the Natural Language Processing research group at the Department's Research Committee, due to our group leader being on sabbatical.

NLP Seminar Organiser: Between 2003 and 2005 I was the organiser of the NLP group’s research seminars, which include both invited speakers and NLP project presentations.

Computing Experience

Programming languages Java, Prolog, C++, Lisp, Pascal, FoxPro, Oracle, Delphi, Visual Basic
Comp Ling. Systems GATE, RealPro, Exemplars (commercial language generation tools), WordNet
Web-related CGI, JavaScript, applets, HTML, XML
Platforms and Environments PCs – Windows95/NT – system administrator level
Macintosh, Unix – user level

Professional Activities

Member of EPSRC College 2006-present


Other professional activities


Edited collections

Book chapters (Peer reviewed)

Journal Papers

Refereed Conferences

Refereed Workshops