Dr Eric Atwell

Research interests

My research speciality is corpus linguistics and text analytics: Machine Learning and Data Mining analysis of a CORPUS of text - in English, Arabic, or other languages - to analyse the text and detect "interesting" and "useful" features or patterns. For example:
Detecting terrorist activities, by analysis of documents from terrorist suspects, to highlight suspicious parts of the text.
Analysis and text-mining of the Quran, to find links and patterns in the Quran verses and chapters whcih are of interest to Islamic and Religious Studies scholars.
Detecting cause of death from verbal autopsy text documents describing the circumstances of the death.

I lead research projects, including the Leeds contribution to EPSRC/ESRC/CPNI-funded 2.2M-pound research project IDEAS factory - detecting terrorist activities: making sense, as featured in The Engineer; JISC-funded project e-Health GATEwayto the Clouds to enable secure research access to anonymized e-Health patient records; HEA-funded project to collect web-based resources for teaching and research in Islamic Studiesand EPSRC-funded project Natural language processing working together with Arabic and Islamic Studies.

I work with the Language @ Leeds research group (language@lists.leeds.ac.uk), and the Artificial Intelligence Research Group.. See some ideas for corpus linguistics PhD projects, Guidelines on writing a successful PhD proposal, and my video clip.
I am most proud of the 30+ research students I have supervised, who went on to work in a range of careers, including web search, banking and finance, text analytics, translation and language consulting, online news, voice-to-text, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, and, of course, as University academics! See feedback from current and past students.


  • PhD Computing (Leeds)
  • BA Computing and Linguistics (Lancaster)

Professional memberships

  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) Peer Review College
  • AHRC (Arts and Humanties Research Council) Peer Review College
  • ACL (Association for Computational Linguistics) member

Student education

My teaching includes: supervision of PhD, MSc and BSc student research projects; lecturing to Computing MSc and BSc students; and personal tutorials for MSc students. I have also taught at international conference tutorials and summer schools, for example Aston Summer School on Corpus Linguistics.

I have taught a range of subjects, including Data Mining, Text Analytics, Language, Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, Knowledge Management and Adaptive Systems, Technologies for Knowledge Management, Corpus Linguistics, Object Oriented Programming, Professional Development, Knowledge Based Systems, Knowledge Discovery, Perceptual Systems, and Future Directions in Distributed Multimedia Systems.

Research groups and institutes

  • Applied Computing in Biology, Medicine and Health
  • Artificial Intelligence