Eric Brill

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Eric Brill is a computer scientist specializing in natural language processing. He created the Brill tagger, a supervised part of speech tagger.[1] Another research paper of Brill introduced a machine learning technique now known as transformation-based learning.[2]


Eric earned a BA in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1987 and a MS in Computer Science from UT Austin in 1989. In 1994, he completed his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University from 1994 to 1999.[3]

In 1999, he left JHU for Microsoft Research, he developed a system called "Ask MSR" that answered search engine queries written as questions in English,[4] and was quoted in 2004 as predicting only brief success for Google's search engine business.[5] In 2009 he moved to eBay to head their research laboratories.[6]


  1. ^ Brill, Eric (1992), "A simple rule-based part of speech tagger", HLT '91: Proceedings of the workshop on Speech and Natural Language, Morristown, NJ, USA: Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 112–116, doi:10.3115/1075527.1075553, ISBN 1-55860-272-0.
  2. ^ Brill, Eric (December 1995), "Transformation-based error-driven learning and natural language processing: a case study in part-of-speech tagging", Comput. Linguist., Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 21 (4): 543–565.
  3. ^ Eric Brill Profile
  4. ^ From factoids to facts, The Economist, August 28, 2004.
  5. ^ Microsoft Researcher Questions Search Engine Business Model, Paula Rooney, InformationWeek, September 29, 2004.
  6. ^ Microsoft’s adCenter GM & Search Researcher Eric Brill Moves To eBay, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land, September 24, 2009.