I am an ICREA Research Professor in the Department of Translation and Language Sciences of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where I head the Computational Linguistics and Linguistic Theory (COLT) research group. I previously held post-doctoral positions at the Department of Linguistics of The University of Texas at Austin and the CIMEC Center for Brain/Mind Sciences of the University of Trento; before that, I graduated in Spanish Philology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and obtained my PhD at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. I am a member of the standing review committee of the TACL journal. I was an Information Officer of the SIGSEM Board (2013-2020), and acted as area co-chair of ACL 2016, program co-chair of *SEM 2015, and local co-chair of ESSLLI 2015. I am currently funded by an ERC Starting Grant.
I want to understand how language works; in particular, how humans convey meaning through language. I address this research question with an approach that I call "Data Science for Linguistics", integrating methodologies from Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence.
The focus of my research are the mechanisms by which people put together generic information stored in our linguistic system (such as the lexicon or the grammar) with information coming from the specific situations speakers are in when they use language. For instance, given a picture of a chihuahua seen from quite afar, in a park, next to its owner, do people use "chihuahua", or "dog", or yet some other word? To understand this behavior, my team and me carry out statistical modeling and computational experiments, often using Machine Learning techniques. Our approach requires large amounts of data, and part of our work involves gathering linguistic data on a large scale.