Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Natural Language Processing Group

Welcome to the Natural Language Processing Group at the Computational Linguistics Department at Heidelberg University!

Our research focuses on Advanced Semantic Analysis and Discourse Processing Models for Natural Language Understanding.

Recent research themes and applications

  • Question Answering and Reading Comprehension
  • Discourse Relation Classification
  • Deep Sentiment Analysis
  • Multilingual Semantic Role Labeling
  • Abstract Anaphora Resolution
  • Knowledge-based Argumentation Analysis
  • Identifying Implicit Information in Discourse
  • Multimodal Language Processing
Take a look at our research projects and publications, and follow us on Twitter.


  • We're happy to announce that the paper Reconstructing Implicit Knowledge with Language Models by Maria Becker, Siting Liang and Anette Frank has earned the Best Paper Award at DeeLIO: The 2nd Workshop on Knowledge Extraction and Integration for Deep Learning Architectures at NAACL 2021. With this we conclude our work in ExpLAIN in the SSP RATIO project.
  • We are delighted to announce eight papers on interpretation and reasoning in NLU and NLG using Commonsense Knowledge, on Multilingual AMR Parsing, and on Multimodal Image and Language processsing. All details can be found here. Congratulations to all authors!
  • The NLP Group will welcome new team members in 2021: Philipp Wiesenbach will join the ACCEPT project, to work on Computational Argumention, and Xiyan Fu will join us to research new topics in Natural Language Understanding and Generation. We are looking forward to the new team members joining the group in May and July!

  • There will be three dissertation defenses in the upcoming months: Angel Daza and Maria Becker will defend their theses in May, and Todor Mihaylov will defend his thesis in June/July! Angel and Todor have already started their new positions at the University of Amsterdam and at Facebook AI in Menlo Park, and Maria will soon start her new position at the Department of German Studies at Heidelberg University.

  • Anette Frank will be Action Editor for TACL starting July 2021.

  • Maria Becker and Katharina Korfhage will present CoCo-Ex in the EACL 2021 Demonstrations Track. CoCo-Ex: A Tool For Linking Concepts From Texts To ConceptNet allows users to ground ConceptNet concepts in textual sequences. Find paper, code and video at EACL 2021.

  • We are happy to announce a new paper accepted for EACL 2021: Towards a Decomposable Metric for Explainable Evaluation of Text Generation from AMR, by Juri Opitz and Anette Frank. Pre-print available from arXiv. Congratulations to the authors!
  • We have two openings for PhD candidates:
    • A doctoral scholarship in Natural Language Understanding and Generation
    • A PhD position in our new DFG project ACCEPT in the priority program RATIO (Robust Argumentation Machines)
    Please find all relevant information about the positions and how to apply here.

  • We have a new project accepted in the 2nd phase of the DFG Priority Program RATIO: Robust Argumentation Machines. The project ACCEPT: Perspectivized Argument Knowledge Graphs for Deliberation Support will be jointly conducted by Prof. Anette Frank and Prof. Philipp Cimiano (University Bielefeld).

  • Two members of the HD NLP group have been rewarded for outstanding contributions to EMNLP 2020: Anette Frank as outstanding Area Chair and Juri Opitz as outstanding Reviewer. Congrats. We appreciate such recognitions for community services.

  • Two new blog posts in our HD NLP blog (very interesting to read!):
  • Two long papers by members of the NLP group have been accepted for EMNLP 2020.
    Congratulations to the authors!
    • X-SRL: A Parallel Cross-Lingual Semantic Role Labeling Dataset, by Angel Daza and Anette Frank, to appear in the Proceedings of EMNLP. The publication is based on work within the LiMo project
    • Social Commonsense Reasoning with Multi-Head Knowledge Attention, by Debjit Paul and Anette Frank, to appear in Findings at EMNLP, Association of Computational Linguistics, [preprint]
  • The paper Argumentative Relation Classification with Background Knowledge, by Debjit Paul, Juri Opitz, Maria Becker, Jonathan Kobbe, Graeme Hirst, and Anette Frank earned a nomination for the best student paper award at the COMMA 2020 Conference! Congratulations to all authors!
  • Three new publications by members of the NLP group and colleagues:
    • Juri Opitz, Letitia Parcalabescu and Anette Frank (2020): AMR Similarity Metrics from Principles. Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Vol. 8, pp. 522-538. [html]
    • Debjit Paul, Juri Opitz, Maria Becker, Jonathan Kobbe, Graeme Hirst, and Anette Frank (2020): Argumentative Relation Classification with Background Knowledge. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Computational Models of Argument (COMMA 2020) [html]
    • Maria Becker, Ioana Hulpus, Debjit Paul, Juri Opitz, Jonathan Kobbe, Heiner Stuckenschmidt and Anette Frank (2020): Explaining Arguments with Background Knowledge. Towards Knowledge-based Argumentation Analysis. Datenbank Spektrum 20:131–141, Special Issue: Argumentation Intelligence. [DOI]
  • In the newest issue of Heidelberg University's research magazine on “Machine & Human”, Anette Frank and Katja Markert discuss "The Challenges of Teaching Machines to Understand Human Language". They discuss current work of their research groups and argue that both commonsense knowledge and creativity - which humans master so easily - are still a challenge for automatic language processing algorithms. Enjoy!

  • New publication: Letitia Parcalabescu and Anette Frank: Exploring Phrase Grounding without Training: Contextualisation and Extension to Text-Based Image Retrieval. Workshop on Multimodal Learning (at CVPR 2020), [pdf].
  • Anette Frank will be Area Chair in the Semantics track" for EMNLP 2020.
  • Anette Frank will be Area Chair in the Semantics Track for ACL 2020 in Seattle.
  • Anette Frank and Letitia Parcalabescu are participating in the newly established COST Action Multi3Generation: Multi-task, Multilingual, Multi-modal Language Generation, led by Isabelle Augenstein. We are members of the management committee as representatives for Germany.
    We are looking forward to collaborating in this great network activity.
  • Enjoy our latest NLP blog post: Adversarial Training explained by Sebastian Burst
  • Three new publications at EMNLP, SemEx@ISWC and ArgMining@ACL
    • Angel Daza and Anette Frank: Translate and Label! An Encoder-Decoder Approach for Cross-lingual Semantic Role Labeling (EMNLP 2019)
    • Todor Mihaylov and Anette Frank: Discourse-Aware Semantic Self-Attention for Narrative Reading Comprehension (EMNLP 2019)
    • Ioana Hulpus, Jonathan Kobbe, Christian Meilicke, Heiner Stuckenschmidt, Maria Becker, Juri Opitz, Vivi Nastase and Anette Frank: Towards Explaining Natural Language Arguments with Background Knowledge (SemEx 2019)
  • Three members of the group will attend EurNLP 2019 in London to present and discuss their research:

Todor Mihaylov: Discourse-Aware Semantic Self-Attention for Narrative Reading Comprehension
    • Letitia Parcalabescu: Unsupervised Text to Scene Graph Alignment with WordNet Neighborhood
    • Debjit Paul: Graph-based Multi-Hop Commonsense Knowledge
  • The 2nd Heidelberg Summer School of Computational Humanities (HCH19) has just ended, with lectures, workshops and special events around Mixed Methods in the Computational Humanities. Co-organized by teams of Beatrix Busse, Anette Frank and the Leibniz ScienceCampus. Thanks to all contributors and participants!
  • Juri Opitz and Leo Born offered a half-day hands-on tutorial and workshop: Providing new views on textual data with knowledge graphs at HCH19 (details to come).
  • New publication on "Dissecting Content and Context in Argumentative Relation Analysis", by Juri Opitz and Anette Frank, to appear at the 6th Argument Mining Workshop at ACL 2019 in Florence.
  • New publications at NAACL, *SEM, DATeCH, LDK and RELATIONS!
  • We launched a new NLP blog, which is open to interested students and researchers to share views, insights and news about research in Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence.


Group leader Ph.D students Research assistents
  • Siting Liang, Computational Linguistics
Former team members
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