At last, a computer that understands you like your mother.
--1985, McDonnell-Douglas ad (Lee, 2004)


  • July 2021: Invited talk at the 2nd ELLIS NLP workshop
  • April 2021: We received an outstanding paper award at EACL 2021 demo track for Massive Choice, Ample Tasks (MaChAmp)
  • Autumn 2020: Honored to be ELLIS NLP Scholar
  • Co-organizer of Adapt-NLP 2021 (EACL workshop)
  • Co-organizer of WeaSul 2021 (Weak Supervision, ICLR workshop)
  • November 2020: Co-organizer of RESOURCEFUL 2020 (RESOURCEs and representations For Under-resourced Languages and domains ) workshop at the 8th Swedish Language Technology Conference (SLTC)
  • May 2020: Excited to work with Lilja Øvrelid (University of Oslo) as general chair and Hrafn Loftsson (Reykjavík University, Iceland) (local chair) in the Program Committee of NoDaLiDa 2021 (in Reykjavik in spring 2021) - following the NoDaLiDa tradition that the general chair of the previous edition joins the PC of the upcoming edition. For updates check the social media channel
  • March 2020: PhD candidates opening (now closed)
  • November 2019: Big news! I have been awarded a DFF Sapere Aude (Research leader grant 2019) to work on multilingual Natural Language Understanding (from the Independent Research Fund Denmark)
  • September 2019: I was awarded a DFF thematic research grant on Digital technologie (from the Independent Research Fund Denmark)
  • 2020-2021: I will serve as vice president of NEALT (Northern European Association for Language Technology)
  • 2019-2022: Elected ACL publicity director. I'm excited to help shape this new ACL executive++ role
  • I have been awarded an Amazon Research Award to work on Transfer Learning in Natural Language Processing (Multi-task Sequence Learning under Adverse Conditions) (IT University of Copenhagen press release)

  • Selected Keynotes, talks, panel participations

    • January 2022: I'll be keynote speaker at CliC-It 2021, Milan
    • December 2021: I'll be invited speaker at the NeurIPS workshop on Efficient Natural Language and Speech Processing
    • September 2021: I'll be invited speaker at the DALI end-of-project workshop at Queen Mary University, London
    • August 2021: Career panel discussion at ESSLLI 2021 (with Marco Baroni and Noah Smith)
    • July 2021: Invited talk on Transfer and Multi-Task Learning in NLP at LxMLS (Lisbon machine learning summer school) 2021. You can find the video lectures on YouTube
    • May 2021: Panel discussion at WAIN, ICSE (Software Engineering and AI)
    • May 2021: Invited talks at Cambridge University and Uppsala University
    • December 2020: Keynote on Tackling the long tail in NLP: Transfer to low-resource language, varieties and dialects at Vardial (COLING 2020)
    • November 2020: Panel discussion at WASP4ALL (Virtual Worlds for Artificial Intelligence)
    • September 2019: Opening keynote on Deep Transfer Learning: Learning across Languages, Modalities and Tasks at the NLPL workshop on Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing, Turku
    • August 2019: I gave a keynote on Transfering NLP models across domains and languages at SyntaxFest, Paris
    • May 2019: I gave an invited talk on Deep Learning for Natural Language Processing at IDA AI Event, Copenhagen
    • December 2018: I gave an invited talk on Multi-task Learning in Natural Language Processing at Turku AI Meetup, Finland, December 19, 2018
    • December 2018: I gave an invited talk on Transfer Learning in Turku, Finland, December 19, 2018
    • November 2018: I gave a keynote on "Learning X^2: Natural Language Processing across Languages and Domains" at the UDW 2018 workshop at EMNLP 2018
    • June 2018: I gave an invited talk at the LCT day 2018 in Nancy, France, June 27, 2018
    • 2017-2018: NAACL 2018 area chair
    • June 2018: Invited talk at Uppsala University, Lectures on Language Technology and Machine Learning, Uppsala, June 8, 2018
    • June 2018: WiNLP 2018 career panel discussion, New Orleans, June 2, 2018
    • June 2018: NAACL 2018 ethics in NLP panel discussion, New Orleans, June 3, 2018
    • June 2018: keynote speaker at the NAACL workshop on Stylistic Variation, New Orleans, June 5, 2018
    • June 2018: keynote speaker at the NAACL workshop on Subword & Character Level Models in NLP (SCLeM), New Orleans, June 6, 2018
    • March 2018: visiting scholar at University of Malta
    • March 2018: talk at the Natural Language Processing MeetUp at the University of Zurich, March 20, 2018
    • March 2018 talk at Women in Data Science WiDS 2018, Zurich, March 21, 2018
    • November 2017: Visited Edinburgh NLP to give a talk at the ILLC colloqium series (November 24, 2017)
    • September 2017: I won the IJCNLP 2017 shared task on multilingual customer feedback analysis (ranked 1st / 12 teams)!
    • September 6-11: I'll be at EMNLP 2017, Copenhagen
    • July 28-29: Excited to be invited speaker at the Google NLU (Natural Language Understanding) workshop, New York
    • July 2017: keynote speaker at PyData, Berlin, July, 2017
    • 2016-2017: ACL 2017 area co-chair (for tagging, chunking and parsing)
    • 2016-2017: EACL 2017 student research workshop senior faculty advisor

    Community service (selected)

    Research Lab

    We carry out research in Natural Language Processing, a interdisciplinary subdiscipline of Artificial Intelligence at the interface of computer science, linguistics and cognitive science. In broad terms, our aim is to make NLP model more robust, so that they can deal better with underlying shifts in data due to language variation. This can be among many dimensions, such as language shifts, domain or genre shifts, etc.

    Research interests:
    • learning under sample selection bias (domain adaptation, transfer learning) and annotation bias
    • learning under limited data, continual learning, semi-supervised and weakly-supervised machine learning applied to cross-domain and cross-language natural language processing.
    • multimodal learning, including learning at the language and vision or speech interface and learning from human data
    • combining fortuitous data with machine learning to enable variety-space aware natural language understanding
    • Lab Members

      We are part of the NLP North research unit at ITU.

      Postdoctoral researchers

      • Rob van de Goot (Amazon Research Award, co-funded): transfer learning
      • Maria Barrett (Villum foundation): learning relations from human data

      PhD students

      • (starts in fall 2021-) Joris Baan (co-supervised with Raquel Fernandez, funded by ELLIS Amsterdam unit, co-supervision)
      • Elisa Bassignana (PhD student, DFF MultiVaLUe project)(2021-): cross-domain relation extraction
      • Maximilian Müller-Eberstein (PhD student, DFF MultiVaLUe project): cross-lingual parsing
      • Mike Zhang (PhD student, DFF MultiSkill project):
      • Marija Stepanovic (PhD student, ITU internal funding): speech processing (2019-)

      Research assistants and support staff

      • Kristian Nørgaard Jensen
      • Sif Dam Sonniks

      At this moment, there are no job openings.

      We are part of the Computer Science department at ITU and affiliated with the NLP north research unit. You can find us at Rued Langaards Vej 7, 2300 Copenhagen S.

      Former Members / Alumni

      Postdoctoral researchers and PhDs

      • Alan Ramponi (visiting PhD fellow 2019-2020, Trento University and COSBI): biomedical NLP, domain adaptation - now postdoc at FBK, Italy
      • Sigrid Klerke (2018-2019): human data (eye tracking) to inform NLP - now Chief Data Analyst at EyeJustRead

      ITU Bachelor and Master students

      • Cathrine Damgaard (2021)
      • Paulina Kamila Toborek (2021)
      • Trine Naja Eriksen (2021)
      • Benjamin Olsen (2021)
      • Nicolaj Filrup Rasmussen (2020)
      • Kristian Nørgaard Jensen (2020, 2021)
      • Marco Placenti (2020)
      • Thai Wang (2020)
      • Anders Friis Kaas (2020)
      • Viktor Torp Thomsen (2020)
      • Anders Giovanni Møller (2020)
      • Frederik Gaasdal Jensen (2020)

      Earlier Supervision (selection)

      PhD students

      • Alan Ramponi (external PhD, 2019-2020)
      • Hessel Haagsma (PhD, co-supervised with Johan Bos, 2017)
      • Johannes Bjerva (PhD, co-supervised with Johan Bos, 2017) (defended December 2017); now tenure-track Assistant Professor at Aalborg University, campus Copenhagen

      Master students

      • Reinard van Dalen (Groningen), now at the University of Groningen and self-employed
      • Jovana Urosevic (Malta, co-supervised with Lonneke van der Plas), now at LinkedIn
      • Masha Medvedeva (Groningen), now PhD student at the University of Groningen
      • Jorrit Bakker (Groningen), now at ANIOS intensive care (hospital)
      • Esther van den Berg (EM LCT, joint supervision with Dietrich Klakow), now PhD student at University of Heidelberg
      • Carsten Lygteskov Hansen (IT & Cognition, University of Copenhagen), now at TextKernel
      • Kiona Krueger Weisel (IT & Cognition, University of Copenhagen), now PhD student at University of Erlangen Nuremberg
      • Peter Halkier Nicolajsen (IT & Cognition, University of Copenhagen), now at LEGO

      Fortuitous data

      Ultimately, NLP should be able to handle any language and any domain. However, there is still a long way to go! Our models need training data, but annotated data is biased and scarce. One way to address this problem of training data sparsity is to leverage data that so far has been neglected or rests in non-obvious places. Such fortuitous data [1] includes using hyperlinks to build more robust Part-of-Speech taggers or named-entity recognizers, learning from annotator disagreement and using behavioral data such as gaze or keystrokes [2] to inform NLP. Read up more:

      1. Barbara Plank. What to do about non-standard (or non-canonical) language in NLP. In KONVENS 2016. [arXiv]
      2. Barbara Plank. Keystroke dynamics as signal for shallow syntactic parsing. The 26 th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING). Osaka, Japan. [arXiv]
      3. Barbara Plank et al., 2016. Improving language technology with fortuitous data, ESSLLI 2016 summer school.

    Selected Publications

    Selected publications (more)

    • Rob van der Goot, Ibrahim Sharaf, Aizhan Imankulova, Ahmet Üstün, Marija Stepanović, Alan Ramponi, Siti Oryza Khairunnisa, Mamoru Komachi and Barbara Plank. From Masked-Language Modeling to Translation: Non-English Auxiliary Tasks Improve Zero-shot Spoken Language Understanding. NAACL, 2021.
    • Claudio Greco, Barbara Plank, Raquel Fernández, Raffaella Bernardi. Psycholinguistics meets Continual Learning: Measuring Catastrophic Forgetting in Visual Question Answering. In ACL 2019. [ArXiV] [ACL Anthology]
    • Sigrid Klerke and Barbara Plank. At a Glance: The Impact of Gaze Aggregation Views on Syntactic Tagging. In LANTERN, EMNLP 2019 workshop, Hong Kong.
    • Barbara Plank and Željko Agić. Distant supervision from disparate sources for low-resource part-of-speech tagging. In Proceedings of EMNLP 2018. [arXiv]
    • Sebastian Ruder and Barbara Plank. Strong Baselines for Neural Semi-supervised Learning under Domain Shift. In ACL 2018, Melbourne, Australia. [arXiv]
    • Sebastian Ruder and Barbara Plank. Learning to select data for transfer learning with Bayesian Optimization. In EMNLP 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark. [arXiv]
    • Héctor Martínez Alonso and Barbara Plank. When is multitask learning effective? Semantic sequence prediction under varying data conditions. In EACL (long). [pdf] [arXiv]
    • Barbara Plank. Keystroke dynamics as signal for shallow syntactic parsing. The 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING). Osaka, Japan. [arXiv] received finalist for best paper award
    • Johannes Bjerva, Barbara Plank and Johan Bos. Semantic Tagging with Deep Residual Networks. The 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING). Osaka, Japan. [arXiv]
    • Chloe Braud, Barbara Plank and Anders Søgaard. Multi-view and multi-task training of RST discourse parsers. The 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING). [pdf]
    • Barbara Plank. What to do about non-standard (or non-canonical) language in NLP. In KONVENS 2016. [pdf] [arXiv]
    • Barbara Plank, Anders Søgaard and Yoav Goldberg. Multilingual Part-of-Speech Tagging with Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory Models and Auxiliary Loss. In ACL (short), 2016. [arXiv]
    • Ben Verhoeven, Walter Daelemans and Barbara Plank. TwiSty: a Multilingual Twitter Stylometry Corpus for Gender and Personality Profiling. In LREC 2016.
    • Raffaella Bernardi, Ruket Cakici, Desmond Elliott, Aykut Erdem, Erkut Erdem, Nazli Ikizler-Cinbis, Frank Keller, Adrian Muscat and Barbara Plank. Automatic Description Generation from Images: A Survey of Models, Datasets, and Evaluation Measures. To appear in JAIR. [JAIR]

    Selected talks

    • November 5, 2020: WASP AI conference (virtual), "Multi Task Learning in Natural Language Processing" [YouTube]
    • November 2, 2018: EMNLP 2018 talk on "Distant Supervision from Disparate Sources" [Vimeo video ]
    • March 19, 2018, Zurich NLP MeetUp "Transfer Learning in NLP", Zurich [Tube Switch video ]
    • July 28, 2017, Google Research NLU workshop, New York
    • July 1, 2017: PyData 2017 Berlin, Natural Language Processing: Challenges and Next Frontiers [YouTube]
    • March 28, 2017, Geneva: "What to do about non-canonical data in NLP"
    • March 27, 2017, Geneva: "Multi-task learning in NLP: What? How? When?"
    • March 14, 2017, Keynote at the Nuance Research Conference (NRC) 2017: "Beyond text: fortuitous data and deep multi-task learning for processing non-standard text"
    • March 10, 2017, Milan: "Introduction to Natural Language Processing"
    • YRNLP, Osaka Japan, December 10, 2016, Young Researcher in Natural Language Processing in Japan: "Variety in research, research in variety"


    Community Service and Commissions of Trust (selected)

    • Chair & board member:
      • EACL advisory board member (2019-2021)
      • EMNLP 2021 area chair (Resources and Evaluation)
      • AKBC 2021 area chair
      • EACL 2021 senior area chair (Resources and Evaluation)
      • NoDaLiDa 2021 program chair
      • EurNLP 2020 program advisory chair (postponed)
      • ACL 2020 senior area chair (Resources and Evaluation)
      • NoDaLiDa 2019 general chair
      • EurNLP 2019 program co-chair
      • WiDS 2019 Copenhagen main co-organizer
      • ACL 2019 workshop co-chair
      • EMNLP 2019 area chair
      • NAACL 2018 area chair (Multilingual NLP including Phonology, Morphology and Word Segmentation)
      • ESSLLI 2018 Program Chair for Language and Computation
      • ACL 2017 area chair (Tagging, Chunking, Syntax and Parsing)
      • EACL 2017 Student research workshop faculty advisor
      • Editorial board member Computational Linguistics journal (2017-2019)
      • Editorial board member TACL journal (2018-2010)
      • ACL 2016 publicity chair
      • EMNLP 2015 publicity chair
    • Program committee for conferences (selected): AAAI 2018, 2017, 2016; NIPS 2018, 2017, 2016; ACL 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013; EMNLP 2016, 2015, 2014; NAACL 2019, 2016; CoNLL 2017, 2016, 2015; COLING 2016, 2014; KONVENS 2016; IJCNLP 2014; *SEM 2015;
    • Program committee for workshops (selected): NAACL SRW 2016; CL4LC 2016; DADA 2016; MWE 2016,2015; LAW 2016; L&V 2016; NoDaLiDa 2013, 2015; NLPIT 2016, 2015; IWPT 2015; SemEval 2015; IJCAI 2013; CLIN 20;
    • Journals (selected): TACL; Computational Linguistics; Information Processing and Management Journal 2013; Journal of Logic and Computation special issue, 2012; PLOS One; JIS 2016;

    Bio, Teaching & more

    Short Bio

    • July 2021-: Full Professor, IT University of Copenhagen (ITU)
    • May 2018-June 2021: Associate Professor (tenured), IT University of Copenhagen (ITU)
    • April 2016-Mar 2018: Assistant Professor (tenured), University of Groningen (RUG)
    • Sep 2014-Mar 2016: Assistant Professor, CST, University of Copenhagen (UCPH)
    • Aug 2013-Aug 2014: Postdoc, CST, Copenhagen Lowlands
    • Nov 2011-Jun 2013: Postdoc, DISI, Trento LiMoSiNe project
    • 2007-2011: Ph.D., cum laude, University of Groningen
    • MSc European Masters Program in Language and Communication Technologies (EM-LCT), cum laude. Joint degree from the University of Bozen-Bolzano (Italy) and University of Amsterdam (UvA, The Netherlands) (2007).
    • BSc, Computer Science, University of Bozen-Bolzano (2005).


    • Since 2019:
      • Athens NLP summer school: Encoder-decoder models
      • Second Year Project in the BSc in Data Science, ITU: Introduction to NLP and deep learning
      • Guest course as visiting researcher at the University of Malta: Advanced topics in LCT (NLP and deep learning)
    • 2017-2018:
      • Deep Learning for Social Media Processing (course given as visiting scholar in Malta)
      • Language Technology project (i.e., project-based intro to Deep Learning for NLP, Master's level)
      • Collecting Data (Master in Digital Humanities)
      • Shared Task (Master's level)
      • Bachelorscriptie Informatiekunde
      • Computationele Grammatica
      • Inl.wetensch.onderzoek/Introduction to research methods
      • Digital Skills
    • 2016-2017:
      • Language Technology project (Master's)
      • Collecting Data (new Master in Digital Humanities)
      • Bachelorscriptie Informatiekunde
      • Computationele Grammatica
      • Inl.wetensch.onderzoek/Introduction to research methods
    • Summer 2016: ESSLLI 2016 summer school on Fortuitous data, Bozen-Bolzano
    • Spring 2016: Language Technology Project, RUG
    • Spring 2016: Language Processing 2, UCPH (initial lectures before departure)
    • Autumn 2015: Cognitive Science 1, UCPH
    • Spring 2015: Language Processing 2, UCPH
    • Autumn 2014: Cognitive Science 1, UCPH

    Code & Data

    Press & Media