Curriculum Vitae

     (A Microsoft Word vesion of my CV can be found here)


Potted History!









John Irving Tait

Date of Birth: 31/5/1955

Married - No Children


Ph.D. Cambridge University 1983 (Automatic Summarising of English Text).

BA Computing Science with Upper Second Class Honours, Essex University, 1976.

Certificate in Education (Higher Education), University of Sunderland, 1996.

Member of the British Computer Society 1984, Fellow 2003.

Chartered Engineer 1990.

Chartered Information Technology Professional, 2004.

Member of the Association for Computing Machinery, 1994.

Common Purpose Matrix Graduate 2003.

Fellow of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers 2005


Career History

1976 Marconi Radar Systems Ltd.: Programmer on air traffic control systems.

1976-77 University of Essex Electronics Centre: Contract Programmer. Wrote a design tool for programmable logic arrays.

1977-78 British Ship Research Association: Research Officer (Research) working on a Ship's Steelwork Design System.

1978-81 University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory: Research Student.

1981-83 University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory: Research Assistant. Designed and built an experimental information retrieval system based on artificial intelligence principles.

1983 International Computers Ltd.: Computer Based Training Consultant.

1983-85 Acorn Computer Ltd.: Senior Consultant in Advanced Research and Development.

1985-88 ICI plc Chemical and Polymers Group Ltd: Knowledge Based System Analyst in the Information Services Department.

1988-89 ICI plc Corporate Management Services: Senior Technical Analyst in the DEC Business Support Group of the North UK Region of Computing and Telecommunications Services..

1989-91 Northern Systems: Technical Manager, Product Manager operating in the Engineering Data Management Field.

1991-95 Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Sunderland. Led course development team and subsequently co-ordinated operation of the M.Sc. in the Management of Information Technology.

1995-1997 Reader in Intelligent Information Systems in the School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Sunderland.

1997 on Professor of Intelligent Information Systems in the School of Computing and Information Systems (Subsequently School of Computing Engineering and Technology), University of Sunderland.

1999-2002 Associate Director Research, School of Computing, Engineering and Technology, University of Sunderland. Responsible (with the Director and other Associate Directors) for the strategic leadership of the school. Particular responsibility for research. Direct budgetary responsibility for £475K per annum of HEFCE Research related income.

2002-2007 Associate Dean, School of Computing And Technology. Continuing responsibility for strategic leadership of the School with specific responsibilities the Internet Technologies, Information Systems and Software Engineering academic subareas of the School, and for research development.

2007 - 2011 Chief Scientific Officer, the Information Retrieval Facility (IRF), Vienna, Austria (part time). Responsible for the scientific and technical leadership in a new non-profit organisation aimed to promote better research on information retrieval and searching, especially on the very large scale and for the intellectual property industry.

2007 on Director, JohnTait.Net.

2009-2010 Interim Chief Technology Officer, CMICommerce Ltd.

Journal Editorial Responsibilities

Joint Editor Cambridge University Press Journal "Natural Language Engineering" from inception (1992) and from 2007 on to date and Executive Editor from 1 January 200 to July 2007.

Associate Editor and Editorial Board Member , ACM Transactions on Information Systems. 2005-2007.

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Interesting Negative Results in NLP and ML 2005 on

Other Journal Reviewing

ACM Computing Surveys, 2007. International Journal on Very Large Databases, 2006. IEE Transaction on Image Processing, 2005. Neural Computing Applications Forum, 2005. Information Retrieval, 2004.

Funding Programme Reviewing

Research Grant Proposal Reviewer for EPSRC 1995 to 2013; BBSRC Bioinformatics Programme, 1998, 1999; ESRC 1998, 2002, 2003; AHRB, 2001, 2003.

End of Award Rapporteur, ESRC, 2002, 2003, 2006; EPSRC 2003, 2006.

Irish Government (Enterprise Ireland) Advanced Technology Research Programme 2002 and Technology Development Research Programme 2003, 2004. E-learning, 2005.

Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College 2003-ongoing

EU Framework 6 Project Reviewer and Evaluator: 2005, 2006, 2012, 2013

Finnish Academy Centres of Excellence, 2004

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Council for the Physical Sciences: 2005, 2008.

National University of Singapore, Research Grant Final Report Reviewer, 2006.

Chilean National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDECYT), 2009. European Research Council, 2010.

European Research Council, 2010.


Conference Programme Committee Membership

International ACM-SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval. Programme Committee Chair for Europe and Africa, 2005 (Salvador, Brazil). Area Co-ordinator for Summarising and Question Answering 2001 New Orleans, USA), 2002 (Turku, Finland), 2003 (Toronto, Canada). Area Co-ordinator at Large, Chair Best Papers Award Committee, 2004 (Sheffield, UK), Faculty Member Doctoral Consortium 2004, 2005, 2008. PC Member 1986, 2007, 2011. Mentor 2005-6. PC Member for Semantic Web Workshop, 2003, 2004. Joint PC Chair for the workshop "iNeWS 07 - Improving Non-English Web Searching" 2007.

Association for Computational Linguistics Human Language Technology Conference, Information Retrieval Track, 2007.

The Twelfth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2003), Searching and Mining Track.

IEEE Natural Language Processing and Knowledge Engineering, Bejing, October 2003.

European Conference on Information Retrieval Research, Joint Programme and General Chair, 2004 (Sunderland). Member 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007.

3rd, to 9th International Conference on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics, CICLing-2002 (Mexico City), CICLing-2003 (Mexico City), CICLing-2004 (Seoul), CICLing-2006 (Mexico), CICLing-2007 (Mexico), CICLing-2008 (Tel Aviv).

ACM SIGIR Workshop on Human Language Technology for the Semantic Web and Web Services, 2nd International Semantic Web Conference, Florida, October 2003.

Programme Chair of 1st Annual Computational Linguistics UK Research Colloquium, Sunderland, January, 1998, and programme committee member, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.

Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP), 2001, 2005, 2007.

RANLP Text Mining Workshop, 2005.

Text Summarization Branches Out, Workshop at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2004). Barcelona.

FinTAL - 5th International Conference on Natural Language Processing, Turku, Finland, 2006.

First Symposium on Information Interaction in Context (IiRX 2006) Copenhagen.

Programme Committee Chair ACL/COLING Workshop on "How can Computational

Linguistics Improve Information Retrieval", Sydney Australia, 2006.

1st International Conference on the Theory of Information Retrieval (ICTIR 2007), Budapest, Hungary.

Joint Conference of the 47th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 4th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Reviewer) 2009.

Patent Information Retrieval Workshop (PaIR at the ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM). Co-Chair, 2008, 2009, 2010, PC 2011.

Committee Membership for Professional Bodies etc.

Member of the UK Computing Research Committee 2004 on

Chairman of the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group 1984 to 1986. Committee member 1983 87 and 2003 to 2005.

Member of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour, 1985 to 1988.

Member of the DTI/EPSRC/MoD Speech and Language Technology (SALT) Committee 1994 to 1996

Other Major Professional Responsibilities

Member University of Sunderland Research Committee, 1996 to 2007.

Chair of University of Sunderland School of Computing and Technology Postgraduate Board of Studies and Board of Assessment Health Information Management. 1999 on, Industrial Practice, 2003 to 2007.

Member University of Sunderland Research Strategy Group 2002 to 2004

Member of University of Sunderland Research Assessment Exercise Core Group 2004 to 2007

Member of University of Sunderland Academic Strategy Group 2004 to 2007

Invited Tutorial Presenter at Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP) 2005, Borowitz, Bulgaria.

University of Lincoln: External member of the Faculty of Technology Research Degrees Board. 2005-2009

Invited Planary Speaker at the Xth International Symposium on Social Communication, Santiago de Cuba, January 2007.

Research Funding Obtained

1995 "MABLe: Multi-Lingual Authoring of Business Letters". EU Framework IV Language Engineering. Total Value 2M ECU of which the University of Sunderland obtained 117K ECU over 3 years.

1995 "Intelligent Interface for Hazard Analysis". British Steel. £20K over 10 months.

1996 "Intelligent Analysis of Vibration Data (SPUR)", (With J. MacIntyre and P. Smith), Monition Ltd., £84K over 2 years.

1996 "Automatic Text Simplification for Aphasics". Apple Computer, Inc, Research Laboratories, Cupertino, Ca. £8K equipment grant.

1997 "PSET: Practical Simplification of English Text", Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, £184K over 3 years.

1998 "VERITY - - Virtual and Electronic Resources for Information Skills Training for Young People". EU Framework IV Telematics for Libraries. (With A. McDonald, J. Atkins and others of the University of Sunderland Library). Total Value 673K ecu of which the University of Sunderland was awarded 198K ecu over 33 months.

2001 Visiting Fellowship with Dr. Shi-Ming Huang, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan. National Science Council of Taiwan (80K Taiwan dollars).

2006 Vidipedia (DTI Technology Programme) £1M total project budget of which £76K to the University of Sunderland (in collaboration with Dr. Chris Stokoe). Reference H0089E

2006 Vitalas (EU Framework 6 Integrated Project) 8.7M euro of which 441K euro to the University of Sunderland (in collaboration with Chris Stokoe). Reference IST-2-045389-IP

2006 Visiting Fellowship with Professor Shi-Ming Huang and Dr. Chih-Fong Tsai, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan. National Science Council of Taiwan (110K Taiwan dollars approximately).

2010 PLUTO - Patent Language Translation Online (with Mihai Lupu); EU PSP programme; 2.3m total funding, of which 394K came to the IRF.

2010 "Khresmoi Medical Information Analysis and Retrieval" (with A. Hanbury). EU F7 IP - Total budget 10M over 4 years of which the EU contribution is 8M, almost 700K to the IRF.

2010 PROMISE Network of Excellence (with M. Lupu and A. Hanbury). Total Budget 4M over 3 years, or which the EU contribution is 3.5M, 200K to the IRF.

2010 MUMIA EU COST Network (with Mike Salampasis, TEI Thessaloniki): 70K per annum for 4 years.

External Assessor/Member Appointments

External Assessor for Professorial and Associate Professorial appointments Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, University of Malaya. 1999.

External Member Professorial Appointment Panel, Glasgow Caledonian University, Department of Computing, 2000.

External Member, Validation Panel for M.Sc. Intelligent & Multiagent Systems, University of Westminster, 2002.

External Member, Validation Panel for B.Sc. Information Systems, Information and technology and/with …., Greenwich University, 2002.

External Member, Faculty of Technology Research Degrees Board, University of Lincoln 2006 on.

Tenure Reviewer National University of Singapore 2008.

Taught Course External Examiner Appointments

M.Sc. Advanced Information Processing (from 1999, Computing: Information Engineering, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. 1996 to 2000.

Computing Undergraduate Network (of Degrees), Manchester Metropolitan University, January 1998 to December 2001.

M.Sc. Machine Translation and M.Sc. Natural Language Processing, UMIST, December 1997 to December 2000.

M.Sc. Information Systems; M.Sc. Information Technology and Financial Services, Napier University, October 2001 to September 2005.

MSc Digital Media, MSc eCommerce with Marketing, MSc Information Systems, MSc Internet Systems Development, MSc Software Engineering University of Portsmouth, September 2002 to December 2007.

Successful Higher Degrees Examined

Four Doctorates, two research Masters prior to 2001.


Ph.D. Internal Examiner. K. McGarry. "Rule Extraction and Knowledge Transfer from Radial Basis Function Neural Networks" 2002.

Ph.D. External Examiner, University of Glasgow. "A Query Ambiguity Model for Cross-Language Information Retrieval". Candidate: Mirna Adriani. 2002.

Ph.D. National University of Ireland, Dublin, University College Dublin. "Lexical Chains for Topic Tracking". Candidate: Joseph Carthy. 2002.

Ph.D. External Examiner, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia "Processing of Similarity Queries in Content-Based Image Retrieval Systems". Candidate: S.M.M. Tahaghoghi. 2003.

Ph.D. External Examiner, Sheffield Hallam University. "An Expert Advisor System for College Management". Candidate N. Axelby.. 2003.

Ph.D. External Examiner, University of Birmingham. Candidate: Simon Graham Jeremy Smith. "Predicting Query Types by Prosodic Analysis" October 2003.

Ph.D. External Examiner, University of Edinburgh. "Semantically Guided Evolutionary Knowledge Discovery from Texts". Candidate: John Atkinson-Abutridy. 2003.

Ph.D. Internal Examiner, Hyatt Maarafi "Motivation in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching in the Department of English and Modern European Languages at the University of Qatar". 2004.

PhD Internal Examiner, Sheila Garfield, "Hybrid Processing for Spoken Language Classification". 2004

PhD Vocalis (External Examiner), University of Corunna: Jesus Vilares Ferro "Aplicaciones del Procesamiento del Lenguaje Natural en la Recuperación de Información en español" (Application of Natural Language Processing to Spanish Information Retrieval), 2005.

PhD External Examiner, University of Sheffield: Mark Greenwood "Open Domain Question Answering", 2006.

PhD (Posthumous) Internal Examiner. C. Hillam "Evaluating the success and failure factors of implementing Information Technology/Information Systems in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises" 2006.

Ph.D. External Examiner William Doran "Investigating statistical and linguistic approaches to extractive summarisation". University College Dublin, 2008.

Ph.D. External examiner Seamus Lyons, University of East Anglia, 2008.

Ph.D. External Examiner Bader Nasser ALJABER, University of Melbourne, Australia, 2011.

Successful Research Student Supervision

Shi Ming Huang - Ph.D. - 1994. Thesis "An Integrated Expert Database System".

Brent King - Ph.D. - 1996. Thesis "A Multi-Functional Inferencing System, Based on Re-Use of Pre-Existing Plant Design Data".

John MacIntyre - Ph.D. - 1996. Thesis "The use of Neural Networks in Condition Monitoring".

Chen-Fang Tsai - Ph.D. - 1997. Thesis "A Dynamic Adaptive Approach to Genetic Algorithms in the Economic Design of Multiple Control Charts for Mixed-Production".

Michail Salampasis - Ph.D. -1997. Thesis "An Agent-based Hypermedia Digital Library".

Stephen C. Willoughby - Ph.D. - 1998 - "Development of a comprehensive computer support tool for a quality system and Human Resource Development programme".

Ting Sheng Lai - Ph.D. - 1999. "CHROMA: A Photographic Image Retrieval System".

Siobhan Lucy Devlin - Ph.D. - 2000. "Simplifying Natural Language for Aphasic Readers".

Giles Oatley - Ph.D. - 2000. "An Investigation of Case-Based Reasoning for Decision Support of Diagnosis in a Large-Scale Ill-Structured Domain"

Odin Taylor - Ph.D. - 2000. "Investigation into the Use of Hybrid Intelligent Architectures for Monitoring Complex Machinery"

Jeremy Ellman - Ph.D. (part time) - 2000. "Using Roget's Thesaurus to Determine the Similarity of Texts".

Yvonne Canning - Ph.D. (part-time) - 2002 - "Improved syntactic analysis of, and simplified text generation from, free-form text".

Anders Fongen - Ph.D. (part time) - 2003 - "Distributed Resource Discovery Using a Content Sensitive Infrastructure".

Christopher Stokoe - Ph.D. - 2004 - "Automated Word Sense Disambiguation of Web Information Retrieval".

Chih-Fong Tsai - Ph.D. - 2005 - "Automatically Annotating Images with Keywords".

John Flackett - PhD -" The Dichotomy of Scaled Connectionist Compositionality: (S)RAAM Trick or Treat?" External supervisor for Southampton Institute. 2005

Sawsan Taha Dulaymi Ph.D. 2006. "Digital Libraries in Saudi Arabian Academic Libraries"

Shao-Fen Liang PhD 2008 - "Triangulated Formulaic Measurement and Subjective Impression in Automatic Summarisation"

Fotios Lazarinis - PhD by published work 2008 "Text Extraction and Web Searching in a non-latin language"

Other Activities

Grindon Parish Councillor, Stockton-on-Tees 1988 to 2007.

Chair Wynyard Woodland Park Environmental Trust, 2003 - 2006, then Vice Chair.

Member Wynyard Country Park Steering Group 2002 to 2003

1991-93, Chairman of the "Battle for Bottle Hill Campaign"

Play Alto Saxophone

ccasional Ballroom dancing

Keen Sailor: member of Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club, Coquet Yacht Club; owner of Ohlson 35 "Razor Edge" based at Amble, Northumberland.

Royal Yachting Association Day Skipper Shore-Based Certificate 1993

Royal Yachting Association Day Skipper Practical Certificate 1993

Royal Yachting Association/DTI Yachtmaster/Coastal Skipper Shore-Based Certificate 1994

Royal Yachting Association Small Craft First Aid 1996

Royal Yachting Association/DTI Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased 1996

Royal Yachting Association Diesel Engine Maintenance Certificate 1996

Royal Yachting Association Coastal Skipper Practical Certificate 2001

RYA/UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency Short Range Marin Radio Operator Certificate (Renewed 2004)

RYA Radar Course Certificate 2005

RYA International Certificate for Operator of Pleasure Craft 2004-2011

1994 Winner Tees Sailing Club Ben Price Memorial Trophy for best Cruising Log for Cruise from Hartlepool to Loch Maddy, North Uist and back.

Qualified First Aider, 2001-2007.