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Research interests

Google scholar page

 My research involves Artificial Intelligence techniques related to novel human-computer interfaces and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) --  in particular natural language processing and the use of machine learning methods for optimisation. My recent research focuses on reinforcement learning in spoken dialogue systems, user-adaptive natural language generation, technology-enhanced learning, and Human-Robot Interaction . I have published over 100 peer-reviewed research papers in these areas. I am Director of the Interaction Lab research group.


Google homepage 

I am Director of the Interaction Lab in MACS and joined Heriot-Watt in October 2009. I was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh (2003–2009), and a Senior Project Engineer at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) at Stanford University (2000–2002). I hold a PhD from the Centre for Cognitive Science, Edinburgh University, for work in logic and formal semantics (1996), and a BSc in Mathematics and Philosophy from Manchester University. I was Scientific Coordinator of the EC IST project TALK and Coordinator for the EC FP7 CLASSiC project on machine learning for human-machine interaction. I was also PI of the ESRC/EPSRC Technology Enhanced Learning project "ECHOES2" and site leader of 4 recent EC FP7 projects. I started 2 new EPSRC projects in 2015, and a Horizon 2020 project on socially intelligent robots  in 2016 (MuMMER project).


  • QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
  • Robotics & Autonomous Systems

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Oliver Lemon is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 4 Similar Profiles
Reinforcement learning Engineering & Materials Science
Human robot interaction Engineering & Materials Science
Learning systems Engineering & Materials Science
Semantics Engineering & Materials Science
Robots Engineering & Materials Science
Planning Engineering & Materials Science
Demonstrations Engineering & Materials Science
Linguistics Engineering & Materials Science

Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1996 2018

Hybrid reinforcement/supervised learning of dialogue policies from fixed data sets

Henderson, J., Lemon, O. & Georgila, K., 2008, In : Computational Linguistics. 34, 4, p. 487-511 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Reinforcement learning
Computational linguistics
Supervised learning

Evaluating a City Exploration Dialogue System with Integrated Question-Answering and Pedestrian Navigation

Chandrasekaran Janarthanam, S., Lemon, O., Bartie, P., Dalmas, T., Dickinson, A., Liu, X., Mackaness, W. & Webber, B., 4 Aug 2013, Proceedings of 51st Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013). Association for Computational Linguistics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Application programs
Geographic information systems

A dialogue based mobile virtual assistant for tourists: The SpaceBook Project

Bartie, P., Mackaness, W., Lemon, O., Dalmas, T., Chandrasekaran Janarthanam, S., Hill, R. L., Dickinson, A. & Liu, X., Jan 2018, In : Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 67, p. 110-123 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Mobile computing
Mobile devices
User interfaces

Alana v2: Entertaining and Informative Open-domain Social Dialogue using Ontologies and Entity Linking

Cercas Curry, A., Papaioannou, I., Suglia, A., Agarwal, S., Shalyminov, I., Xinnuo, X., Dusek, O., Eshghi, A., Konstas, I., Rieser, V. & Lemon, O., 2018, 1st Proceedings of Alexa Prize (Alexa Prize 2018). 19 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Open Access


Strategic Dialogue Management via Deep Reinforcement Learning

Cuayahuitl, H. (Creator), Heriot-Watt University, 4 Feb 2016


NLG dataset

Novikova, J. (Creator), Rieser, V. (Creator), Lemon, O. (Creator), Heriot-Watt University, 2016


The extended WeatherGame

Rieser, V. (Creator), Gkatzia, D. (Creator), Lemon, O. (Creator), Heriot-Watt University, 2016



Amazon Alexa Challenge

Verena Rieser (Recipient) & Oliver Lemon (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2011 2012

  • 2 Editorial activity

ACM Transactions on Speech and Language Processing (Journal)

Oliver Lemon (Editorial board member)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (Journal)

Oliver Lemon (Editorial board member)
2012 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Press / Media