• EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Conversational AI Human-Robot Interaction

Willing to speak to media


Research output per year

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Personal profile

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

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Research Output

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

80 Citations (Scopus)
  • 21 Citations (Scopus)

    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

  • Data-efficient goal-oriented conversation with dialogue knowledge transfer networks

    Shalyminov, I., Lee, S., Eshghi, A. & Lemon, O., 2019, Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing. Association for Computational Linguistics, p. 1741-1751 11 p.

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

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)

    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
  • 8 Citations (Scopus)
    32 Downloads (Pure)


    Strategic Dialogue Management via Deep Reinforcement Learning

    Lemon, O. (Data Manager) & 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

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

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Activities

    • 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