Dave Howcroft

Research Fellow

Edinburgh Napier University

About Me

I work on linguistic complexity and natural language generation. This means I spend a lot of time thinking about adaptive generation, which requires NLG systems which produce a variety of outputs suitable to different levels of linguistic complexity.


  • Natural Language Generation
  • Text Quality Evaluation & Estimation
  • Linguistic Complexity
  • Automatic Text Simplification


  • MSc in Language Science & Technology, 2015

    Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany

  • AB in Linguistics; BS in Mathematics, 2010

    University of Gerogia, Athens, GA, USA

Recent Publications

OTTers: One-turn Topic Transitions for Open-Domain Dialogue

Mixed initiative in open-domain dialogue requires a system to pro-actively introduce new topics. The one-turn topic transition task …

Twenty Years of Confusion in Human Evaluation: NLG Needs Evaluation Sheets and Standardised Definitions

Human assessment remains the most trusted forrm of evaluation in NLG, but highly diverse approaches and a proliferation of different …

Disentangling the Properties of Human Evaluation Methods: A Classification System to Support Comparability, Meta-Evaluation and Reproducibility Testing

Current standards for designing and reporting human evaluations in NLP mean it is generally unclear which evaluations are comparable …

Semantic Noise Matters for Neural Natural Language Generation

Neural natural language generation (NNLG) systems are known for their pathological outputs, i.e. generating text which is unrelated to …

Noise and Neural Natural Language GenerationRubbish in, Rubbish out?

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Natural Language Generation and Human Language Production: a history and an opportunity

Disentangling 20 years of confusion: quo vadis, human evaluation?

Crowdsourcing and evaluating text quality

Over the last decade, crowdsourcing has become a standard method for collecting training data for NLP tasks and evaluating NLP systems …

Recent Posts

Workshops, etc, on Evaluating Text Quality

There’s been a lot of work on evaluating text quality over the years. This page aims to collect past and current workshops, …

Installing Treex

Installing Treex can be tricky, especially if you’ve never worked with Perl before. Here I’ve gone through the official …

Getting Started With Openccg

OpenCCG is a Java library which can handle both parsing and generation. I’ve mostly used it for surface realization, converting …

Installing Openccg

Installing OpenCCG can seem intimidating, but it’s not so bad, really. Here I’ve tried to reduce the README to the …

Switching to a Static Site Generator

My website was stagnant. I love Markdown. This looks like a good way to motivate myself to update regularly. And I even found a …