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Edward Grefenstette

Personal photo - Edward Grefenstette
Edward Thomas Grefenstette
Research Assistant


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Information Retrieval
  • Category Theory
  • Quantum Informatics
  • Foundations of Mathematics


I am a Franco-American computer scientist, working as a research assistant on EPSRC Project EP/I03808X/1 entitled A Unified Model of Compositional and Distributional Semantics: Theory and Applications. I am also lecturing at Hertford College to students taking Oxford's new computer science and philosophy course. From October 2013, I will also be a Fulford Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College.

I recently finished a DPhil on compositional distributional models of natural language semantics, funded by an EPSRC Doctoral Training Account, supervised by Bob Coecke, Stephen Pulman, and Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh. My doctoral thesis was on Category-Theoretic Quantitative Compositional Distributional Models of Natural Language Semantics, and was examined by Samson Abramsky and Shalom Lappin.

Before coming to the department in 2008 to do the MSc which led to my DPhil, I did graduate work in the philosophy departments at the University of St Andrews in mathematical logic, the foundation of mathematics, and some philosophy of language. Prior to this, I obtained a BSc in Physics & Philosophy from the University of Sheffield.

Current Work

I am working on the relation between logic, inference, and compositional distributional semantics (cf. this paper and this paper, which received the best long paper award at *SEM 2013). I am also interested in linking tensor-based models of semantics with deep learning.

I recently completed work with Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh and Chris Heunen as an editor on the production of a book entitled Quantum physics and linguistics: a compositional, diagrammatic discourse, first published by Oxford University Press in February 2013.




In addition to my research, I am keenly interested in helping with the outreach activities of the department and University, and regularly participate in open days and school events promoting interest in Computer Science and CompPhil, state school accessibility to Oxford, and encouraging young women to consider science at university.

When not working in my office (Room 407), I can be found:

  • Trying not to get beat up at OUKC (currently 3rd kyu JKAE).
  • Playing Go on KGS.


Personal Webpage, Curriculum Vitae, Book a Meeting (Doodle), EMNLP 2011 Dataset

Selected Publications

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Investigating the Role or Prior Disambiguation in Deep−Learning Compositional Models of Meaning

Jianpeng Cheng‚ Dimitri Kartsaklis and Edward Grefenstette

In Learning Semantics workshop‚ NIPS 2014. Montreal‚ Canada. December, 2014.

New Directions in Vector Space Models of Meaning

Edward Grefenstette‚ Karl Moritz Hermann‚ Georgiana Dinu and Phil Blunsom

In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics. June, 2014.

A Deep Architecture for Semantic Parsing

Edward Grefenstette‚ Phil Blunsom‚ Nando de Freitas and Karl Moritz Hermann

In Proceedings of the ACL 2014 Workshop on Semantic Parsing. June, 2014.