25 November 2016
Postgraduate Computing student Rory Duthie has been awarded Best Student Paper Prize at the 6th International Conference on Computational Models of Argument (COMMA 2016) in Potsdam, Germany. Organised every two years since 2006, COMMA has become the largest and most important conference for presentation of the most significant new work on argumentation studied by computer scientist, linguists, mathematicians and logicians.
Rory has just started the second year of his PhD (tentatively entitled "Recognising Trust in Natural Language") under the supervision of Katarzyna Budzynska, and was awarded the prize for his paper "Mining Ethos in Political Debate". Ethos and credibility play a critical role in many types of communication. His paper shows how a textual analysis pipeline of structural and statistical approaches to natural language processing (NLP) can be deployed to tackle ethos, by mining linguistic resources from the political domain. The authors propose a coding scheme for annotating ethotic expressions and present the first openly-available corpus to support further, comparative research in the area. They also report results from a system for automatically recognising the presence and polarity of ethotic expressions.