Gregory Grefenstette

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Gregory Grefenstette
Born(1956-04-25)April 25, 1956
NationalityAmerican, French
Alma materUniversity of Pittsburgh (Ph.D., 1993)
Known forNatural language processing
Semantic maps
AwardsACM Multimedia Grand Challenge
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Science
Artificial Intelligence
Natural Language Processing & Understanding
Computational Linguistics
ThesisExploring Automatic Thesaurus Generation (1993)

Gregory Grefenstette is a French and American researcher and professor in computer science, in particular artificial intelligence and natural language processing.[1][2] As of 2020, he is the chief scientific officer at Biggerpan, a company developing a predictive contextual engine for the mobile web. Grefenstette is also a senior associate researcher at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).


Grefenstette was born in Pittsburgh in 1956. He started M.I.T. as an undergraduate and received his bachelor's degree at Stanford in 1978. He received a master's degree from Paris-Sud 1983 and a PhD in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. From 1984 to 1989, he was an assistant professor at the University of Tours.[3]

Grefenstette's research primarily focuses on natural language processing. Following his PhD work on "Exploring Automatic Thesaurus Generation", he mostly addressed large-scale natural language processing problems and co-edited with Adam Kilgarriff a special issue of Computational Linguistics on using the Internet as a corpus for machine learning. Previous to his position at Biggerpan, Grefenstette was an Advanced Researcher at INRIA, the French national research institute in computer science, working on personal semantics. Prior to that, he was the chief science officer of Exalead, a search engine company, managing the OSEO QUAERO CMSE program on innovative multimedia indexing technologies. Grefenstette is also a former chief scientist at the Xerox Research Centre Europe (1993-2001), at Clairvoyance Corporation (2001-2004), and with the French CEA (2004-2008).

Grefenstette has received 20 US patents, mostly based on his work at Xerox.[4] With his research team, he has received awards for his work on semantic maps and won a three-year grant from the Lagardere Foundation in 2007. He has also authored four books and has been part of several journal publications. Referenced in many natural language processing research papers, Grefenstette is especially known for his work on cross-language information retrieval and distributional semantics.

Selected works[edit]


  • Grefenstette, Gregory; Wilber, Laura (2011). Search-based Applications: At the Confluence of Search and Database Technologies. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. ISBN 9781608455072.
  • Renals, Steve; Grefenstette, Gregory (2003-09-09). Text- and Speech-Triggered Information Access: 8th ELSNET Summer School, Chios Island, Greece, July 15-30, 2000, Revised Lectures. Springer. ISBN 9783540451150.
  • Grefenstette, Gregory (1998). Cross-language information retrieval. Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN 9781461527107.
  • Grefenstette, Gregory (2012-12-06). Explorations in Automatic Thesaurus Discovery. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461527107.

Major publications[5][edit]