Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

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Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia - UNED

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Academic Information

1998 - Bachelor in Computer Science, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM, Spain).

2002 - PhD Computer Science, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED, Spain).

Research activity

Anselmo Peñas belongs to UNED (Distance Learning University of Spain) where he is Full Professor (Catedrático) at the School of Informatics. He joined the UNED NLP & IR group in 1998, obtaining his PhD with special distinction and award in 2002. He also holds the Award of the Spanish Society for Natural Language Processing. In 2010 he stayed at the University of Southern California as visiting scholar where he collaborated during a year in DARPA’s Machine Reading Program. During 2016 he stayed 6 months in the University of York working on unsupervised machine learning techniques applied to natural language interpretation.

He has written a book on Natural Language Processing applied to Information Access, and more than 80 papers on the topic. His research aims at the machine interpretation of the natural language and its applications to tasks such as Question Answering or Machine Reading. His contributions fall in two main directions: the development and international benchmarking of Question Answering systems, and the unsupervised acquisition and application of background and common-sense knowledge to the interpretation of natural language. His work has received more than 2700 citations, with 27 h-index and 64 i10-index.

These research lines led him to participate in several EU projects (EuroWordNet, CLEF, TrebleCLEF, NEWS, ETB, and Limosine), acting as the project international coordinator of EU CHIST-ERA HAMISON (2023-2025), EU CHIST-ERA READERS (2013-2015) and principal investigator of EU CHIST-ERA LIHLITH-KIQA (2018-2020). From 2007 to 2015, acted as the international coordinator of the European Question Answering benchmarking and evaluation campaigns in multiple European Languages at the Cross-Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF QA Track). He has chaired the CLEF conference in 2012, the EACL 2017 Demonstration sessions and several workshops on Question Answering. He is also a member of several program committees for the main conferences in the area (ACL, EMNLP, COLING, NAACL, EACL, etc). As a result of this international collaboration, he has co-authored articles with more than 15 foreign researchers.

Anselmo Peñas has participated as reviewer for several journals, and the evaluation of projects in different national and international calls such as chairing the EU “CHIST-ERA 2013 AMCE” evaluation panel.

In 2015, Anselmo Peñas funded the UNED spin-off Jóvenes Inventores Tecnología y Educación SL, with an accumulated billing of 1.5 million Euro. The company developed the learning methodologies that allowed more than 10.000 kids to get introduced in Robotics, Computer Programming and Digital Skills. Among its partners one can find Ayuda en Acción, Aldeas Infantiles, Fundación Telefónica, Fundación Orange, Asperger Madrid, Fundación ONCE and several municipalities. This activity motivated the participation in several TV and Radio programs. Anselmo Peñas has been also the PI of transference projects with other companies such as Destinia SLU.

Anselmo Peñas has supervised 6 PhD theses and 12 research master dissertations in the field. Three of the PhD students have continued their academic careers at the University, and the rest are working for relevant companies in the field such as Google in Zurich, or lang.ai



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