Music, Sound & Performance Courses
Dr John Elliott Music, Sound & Performance Courses

Dr John Elliott

John's research draws from and incorporates many disciplines, which include: computational linguistics, information theory, psychology, and neuroscience, where he is a leading contributor in the understanding of language structure and the detection of intelligent language-like features in signals, to aid the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). This cross and multi-disciplinary research 'touches' many areas in music, language, ethics, physics, mathematics, and logic; such discoveries have the potential to impact on many every-day phenomena and applications.

Research Area

Director and co-ordinator of SETI-UK and cross faculty research groups for Language and Artificial Mind.

Profile

My main area of interest is in the field of unsupervised natural language learning. In particular, the search for generic human and inter-species language universals to devise computational methods by which language can be discriminated from non-language and core structural syntactic elements of unknown languages can be detected. Aims of this research include: contributing to the understanding of language structure and the detection of intelligent language-like features in signals, to aid the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. This cross and multi-disciplinary research 'touches' many areas in music, language, ethics, physics, mathematics, and logic; such discoveries have the potential to impact on many every-day phenomena and applications.

".. I believe your work is of great importance and hope it results in some positive findings in my life time." (Sir Arthur C Clarke, private correspondence)

For my PhD, I investigated and developed purely computational approaches to identify language structure at its varying levels of abstraction: from its physical level to the parts-of-speech, which encode internal and external ontologies. The results of my work will hopefully contribute towards the decoding of unknown languages, whether terrestrial or extra-terrestrial and a better understanding of what language structure actually is. My research draws from and incorporates many disciplines, which include: computational linguistics, linguistics, information theory, computer visualisation, psychology, neuroscience and statistics. It is by using such a multi-disciplinary approach, which I believe is essential in attacking such a problem that will hopefully contribute and ultimately answer some of the questions. As a consequence of this range of disciplines, my research now looks at areas such as the architecture of the mind, ethical and moral issues in decision making (e.g. robot soldiers), music psychology and counter terrorism.

Consequently, my remit is not the traditional narrow focus often required as a professor but one of the polymath, in order to understand how the constituent parts of such complex systems interact, operate and impact on each other.

Recently, I have been involved in organising the first dedicated SETI Conference, which was hosted by the International Academy of Astronautics (22-26 September 2008, Searching for Life Signatures, Paris, France) and I also chaired the SETI II session at the International Astronautics Congress in Glasgow. In addition to conference organisation, I am the editor of a forthcoming special edition of the journal "Acta Astronautica" on SETI.

Research Interests and Contributions

Artificial Intelligence: Natural Language Engineering; Ethical Reasoning in Intelligent Agents; the Encoding of Qualia; Psychology of Music Performance; Expert Systems.

Research duties include PhD supervisor, internal examiner and membership of the FRASC committee for the Innovation North Faculty. Recently, I have identified colleagues within the University who are or have been research active in language related areas (phonetics, linguistics and corpus linguistics) and have begun to lead this cross-faculty "Language Research Group" with an aim to jointly submit one of my bids this year and establishing a seminar series, jointly with the University of Leeds. I have also presented talks and papers at the University's conferences and staff development festival.

External Professional Activities (since 2000)

International Academy of Astronautics, SETI Permanent Study Group Committee member;

Member of an International Task Group for the Post-detection identification of unknown radio signals.

Member of Lifeboat Foundation Scientific Advisory Board;

Committee member for Computational Linguistics in the United Kingdom

Member of the Tomorrow Project: a programme of research, consultation and communication about people's lives in Britain in the next twenty years, which is supported by a number of government agencies

Nominated for membership of the International Academy of Astronautics

Nominated for permanent involvement as an IAC conference organiser

Conference and Seminar Organisation

Computational Linguistics in the UK: Conference coordinator and editor for conference in computational linguistics;

International Organising Committee for IAC 2008

Chairperson of SETI II sessions at the International Astronautics Congress

SOC for the first dedicated SETI Conference, which will be hosted by the International Academy of Astronautics

Reviewing, Refereeing and Editing

Referee for journals in Entropy, Information Visualisation, ICAAP (International Consortium for the Achievement of Academic Publications); conference papers for Computational Linguistics in the UK.

Editor for the "Special Issues on SETI" series in the International journal Acta Astronautica (Elsevier Press): now appointed as chief editor in this new and permanent series.

Academic Background 

2008 to date: Reader in Intelligence Engineering at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

2002 to 2008: Senior Lecturer and Academic Leader for Artificial Intelligence at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

1999 - 2003: PhD [University of Leeds] in Computational Linguistics looking at Language universals and language discovery

1998 - 1999: MSc [University of Leeds] in Distributed Multimedia Systems

1995 - 1998: BSc (Hons) [University of Leeds] degree in Information Systems with Artificial Intelligence.

Publications

Conference papers

Elliott, J. (2008) A Post-Detection Decipherment Strategy: in proceedings of the 57th International Astronautical Congress, Glasgow, UK, pp. IAA-08-A4.2.05

Elliott, J. (2008) Detecting the Signature of Intelligent Life: in proceedings of the 1st conference on "Searching for Life's Signatures", Paris, France

Elliott, J. (2006) A Semantic 'Engine' for Universal Translation: in proceedings of the 57th International Astronautical Congress, Valencia, Spain, pp. IAA-06-A4.2.06

Elliott, J. (2005) A Post-Detection Decipherment Matrix: in proceedings of the 56th International Astronautical Congress, Fukuoka, Japan, pp. IAA-05-A4.2.10

Elliott, D, Elliott J, Atwell, E and Hartley, A. (2005) Using corpora to automatically detect untranslated and "outrageous" words in machine translation output in proceedings of CL2005: International Conference on Corpus Linguistics, University of Birmingham.

Elliott, J. (2005) A Relational Matrix for Language Decipherment: in proceedings of the IPSI-2005 M.I.T conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Elliot, J. (2005) Calculating the Intelligence of Dolphins: Innovation North Research Conference, Leeds, UK.

Elliott, J. (2004) Unsupervised Discovery of Language Structure in Audio Signals: in proceedings of IASTED International Conference on Circuits, Signals, and Systems (CSS 2004), Clearwater Beech, Florida USA.

Elliott, J. (2004) Detecting Language Structure in Audio Signals: in proceedings of International Conference on Computer, Communication and Control Technologies (CCCT '04), Austin, Texas.

Elliott, J. (2004) An Electronic 'Ear' on the Signal Universe: ICT+2004 conference, Leeds, UK.

Elliott, J. (2004) Using Comparable Corpora for discovering Universals in Surface Structure: in proceedings on LREC workshop on "The Amazing Utility of Parallel and Comparable Corpora", Lisbon, Portugal.

Elliott, J. (2003) A Human Language Corpus for Interstellar Message Construction: in proceedings of the 54th International Astronautical Congress, Bremen, Germany, pp. IAA-03-IAA.9.1.04

Elliott, J. (2003) Unsupervised learning of word classes using function word constraints: in proceedings of International Conference on Computer, Communication and Control Technologies (CCCT '03), vol. V, pp. 143-148.

Elliott, J. (2003) The Human Language Chorus Corpus: in proceedings of CL2003, vol. 16 part 2 pp. 201-210: International Conference on Corpus Linguistics, Lancaster, UK.

Elliott, J. (2002) The Filtration of Inter-Galactic Objets Trouvés and the identification of the lingua ex machina hierarchy: in proceedings of World Space Congress - The 53rd International Astronautical Congress - pp. IAA-02-IAA.9.2.10.

Elliott, J. (2002) Detecting languageness: in proceedings of 6th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (SCI 2002), vol. IX, pp. 323-328. Elliott, J. (2002) The SETI Challenge: in proceedings of the 5th Annual CLUK Colloquium: Computational Linguistics in the United Kingdom, (CLUK 2002, University of Leeds, UK), pp. 50 -57 Association for Computational Linguistics.

Atwell, E & Elliott, J. (2001) A corpus for interstellar communication: in proceedings of CL2001: International Conference on Corpus Linguistics, pp. 31-39; Rayson, P, Wilson, A, McEnery, T, Hardie, A & Khoja, S (editors).

Atwell, E & Elliott, J. (2001) Corpus linguistics and the design of a response message: in proceedings of IAC'2001 - the 52nd International Astronautical Congress - pp. IAA-01-IAA.9.2.08.

Elliott, J & Atwell, E. (2001) Visualisation of long distance grammatical collocation patterns in language: in proceedings of IV2001: 5th International Conference on Information Visualisation, pp. 297-302.

Elliott, J, Atwell, E & Whyte, B. (2001) A toolkit for visualisation of combinatorial constraint phenomena in linguistically interpreted corpora: in proceedings of the 4th Annual CLUK Colloquium, Computational Linguistics in the United Kingdom, pp. 90-95.

Elliott, J, Atwell, E & Whyte, B. (2001) First stage identification of syntactic elements in an extraterrestrial signal: in Proceedings of IAC '2001 - the 52nd International Astronautical Congress - pp. IAA-01-IAA.9.2.07.

Elliott, J & Atwell, E. (2000) Is anybody out there: the detection of intelligent and generic language-like features, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, vol. 53, pp. 13-22. ISSN: 0007-084X.

Elliott, J, Atwell, E & Whyte, B. (2000) Language identification in unknown signals: in proceedings of COLING'2000 - 18th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, pp. 1021-1026 Morgan Kaufman. ISBN: 1-55860-717-X (2 volumes).

Elliott, J, Atwell, E & Whyte, B. (2000) Increasing our ignorance of language: identifying language structure in an unknown signal: in proceedings of CoNLL-2000 - International Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning, pp. 25-30 Association for Computational Linguistics; Daelemans, W (editors).

Elliott, J & Atwell, E. (1999) Language in signals: the detection of generic species-independent intelligent language features in symbolic and oral communications: in proceedings of the 50th International Astronautical Congress, pp. IAA-99-IAA.9.1.08: International Astronautical Federation.

Journals

Elliott, J. (2007) A Post-Detection Decipherment Matrix: Acta Astronautica, Journal of the International Academy of Astronautics Elsevier Science Ltd, England, AA2853.

Elliott, J & Atwell, E. (2000) Is anybody out there: the detection of intelligent and generic language-like features, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, vol. 53, pp. 13-22. ISSN: 0007-084X.

Books

Elliott, J & Atwell, E. (TBC) Chapter 18, "Decomposing bodies - Corpus Linguistics and Reply Messages", in: Between Worlds, MIT Press, USA

Elliott, J. (2002) The Action Hero Handbook, Chapter 3: How to Communicate with an Extraterrestrial, Quirk Books, USA. Borgenicht, D and Borgenicht, J. (Editors).


Contact Details

Leeds Metropolitan University

Faculty of Arts, Environment & Technology

115 Priestley Hall

Headingley Campus

Headingley

Leeds

LS6 3QS

United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)113 812 7379

Email: j.elliott@leedsmet.ac.uk