Colin Matheson

Loch Morlich, August 2020
Loch Morlich, August 2020

Contact Details

I'm a retired member of the Human Communication Research Centre's Language Technology Group. My School of Informatics affiliation was in the Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation.

I've been working in computational linguistics in one form or another since 1983, and I've been living in Edinburgh, first as a student and latterly as a researcher, since 1979.

Music in various forms has been a big interest of mine since I was at school, and when I moved to Edinburgh I became involved in Scottish traditional music. For ten years or so I was a member of Ceolbeg, whose 6th and last album Cairn Water was released in January 2000, and I play in Hugh MacDiarmid's Haircut, the best-named ceilidh band in Edinburgh. However, latterly most of my musical energy went into the Craigmount High School Pipe Band in which Calum (see below) played the pipes. Robbie (see below again) also allows me to busk along with his cello on occasion.

Current Activities

Latterly I worked on two EU projects, Help4Mood and JAMES. Help4Mood, which I coordinated, investigated interactive systems which help in the treatment of severe depression, while JAMES developed a robot bartender. My last project was Hiberlink, focussing on URL extraction from PDF and XML. Currently I'm involved in a few music projects, doing lots of DIY, and digging my way through a jungle outside my house in the hope of finding a garden.

What I used to do

My main interest was in dialogue management on a number of EU projects (LeActiveMath, INDIGO, JAST, TRINDI, MagiCster and M-PIRO), and I coordinated MagiCster and M-PIRO. I've also worked on non-EU projects, including the Beetle automatic tutoring system, TTT, which produced a general text tokenisation tool, and the Methodius Proof of Concept project, funded by Scottish Enterprise, reimplementing language generation software with a view to commercial applications.

In the more distant past I worked on speech recognition on the Alvey project at Edinburgh's Centre for Speech Technology Research and on BibEdit, a project which investigated the application of AI techniques to text processing in order to assist copy editing. I also worked for over a year on Relator, which produced a survey of language resource requirements in Europe and did the groundwork for the European Language Resource Association (ELRA).


I've been married to Diane Fafalios since September 1994. Two additions to the family (Calum and Robbie) arrived in June 1996 and January 1999, and we're still recovering from the shock.