Academic staff


Paola Merlo

Associate Professor

022 37 97325


Paola Merlo is professor at the university of Geneva. She is the head of the interdisciplinary research group Computational Learning and Computational Linguistics (CLCL). The group is concerned with interdisciplinary research combining linguistic modelling with machine learning techniques. The scope of research includes fundamental issues in the statistical nature of language, empirical evaluations of linguistic proposals about the lexical semantics of verbs and about language universals, and statistical models of syntactic and semantic parsing. In particular, Paola Merlo and collaborators have been pursuing an approach called Quantitative Computational Syntax.

She is currently involved, as a PI and as deputy director for Geneva, in the centre of competence in research on the evolution of language, NCCR Evolving Language, where she develops work on compositionality through computational methods.

Prof. Merlo is the past editor of the journal of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, edited by MIT Press. She has been an elected member of the executive committee of the European Chapter and of the main executive committee of the Association for Computational Linguistics.  She has served as general chair of EMNLP 2011 and as general chair of EACL 2021. She has served as chair of the ERC grant panel "The Mind and its Complexity", in 2020. As of 2019, she is an ACL Fellow. 

Prof. Merlo studied theoretical linguistics at the University of Venice and holds a doctorate in Computational Linguistics from the University of Maryland, USA. She has been an associate research fellow at the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania from 1996 to 1998, and has been visiting scholar at the University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics and at Stanford University and Uppsala University , where she currently holds an adjunct professor appointment.

 She has recently been awarded an SNSF Advanced grant, Disentangling Linguistic Intelligence: automatic generalisation of structure and meaning across languages.

Find here her CV.