Dr Verena Rieser


Assistant Professor

School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences; Computer Science

Phone: +44 (0)131 451 4192
  • Room 1.36
    Earl Mountbatten Building
  • School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences; Computer Science
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Edinburgh
  • EH14 4AS
  • United Kingdom
Verena Rieser

Research profile

Roles and responsibilities
  • Lecturer on Software Development 3
  • Researcher on the STAC project (40%)

I'm a lecturer at the School of Mathematical and Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. I am part of the Intelligent Systems Group.    My work is also closely affiliated to the Interaction Lab

My general interests are in the area of Interaction Modelling and statistical Machine Learning techniques, such as Reinforcement Learning. I apply those techniques to Ecological Modelling (aka 'Ecosystem Informatics') and Spoken Dialogue Systems.

I am working on dialogue policy learning ("What to say") and Natural Language Generation ("How to say it"). I am also interested in modelling Land Use Change, urban development, and the impact of Climate Change on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Selected publications

Please also see a full list of my publications on my website.

  • Verena Rieser and Oliver Lemon: Reinforcement Learning for Adaptive Dialogue Systems. A Data-driven Methodology for Dialogue Management and Natural Language Generation. Springer 2011.
  • Derek Robinson, Dave Murray-Rust, Verena Rieser and Mark Rounsevell: Modelling the impacts of land system dynamics on human well-being: coping with data limitations. In: Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (in press).
  • Verena Rieser. Spatial-Temporal Optimisation for Adaptive Sustainable Forest Management. In: Workshop on Machine Learning for Sustainability (in association with NIPS'11). Granada, Spain, 2011.
  • Verena Rieser and Oliver Lemon. Learning and Evaluation of Dialogue Strategies for new Applications: Empirical Methods for Optimization from Small Data Sets. In: Computational Linguistics Vol. 37, No. 1, Pages 153-196. 2011.
  • Verena Rieser and Oliver Lemon: Natural Language Generation as Planning Under Uncertainty for Spoken Dialogue Systems. In Krahmer, E. and Theune, M., editors, Empirical Methods in Natural Language Generation, volume 5980 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, 2010.

I started working as a lecturer at the School of Mathematical and Computer Science at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh in November 2011. 

Before, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Environmental Change and Sustainability at the School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh University. I also worked on the CLASSiC project at the School of Informatics (2008-2010).

I received a PhD from Saarland University in June 2008, where I was a member of the International Research Training Group for Language Technology and Cognitive Systems.

I have an MSc in Language Engineering at University of Edinburgh. I also have an MA in Information Science from Regensburg University.