Research at Leeds Beckett
Dr John Elliott
About Dr John Elliott
Dr Elliott is a Reader in Intelligence Engineering and the Research Group Coordinator for Artificial Intelligence. His 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.
For his PhD, Dr Elliott 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 his work will contribute towards the decoding of unknown languages, whether terrestrial or extra-terrestrial and a better understanding of what language structure actually is.
- Forensic Computing;
- Business Intelligence;
- Project supervision: BSc (final year dissertation) MSc and PhD.
John's research into computational modelling of communication has led him to contribute to many cross-disciplinary areas of research and endeavour. This has led him to work more recently with UK police and security agencies on aspects of automating the detection of criminal activity (online, analytics, and CCTV), involving modelling human communication [dialogue] and behaviour - such as "Modelling of Human Visual Detection of Anti-Social Behaviour", using eye tracking, - and psychological process, for combating crime, terrorism and providing a safer Internet.
John is a also a co-founder of the UK SETI Research Network (UKSRN), which was launched in 2013 to co-ordinate and promote academic research in the UK relating to the Search for Life on other Worlds, which incorporates the search for other intelligent civilisations. The network, under its Patron, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees, brings together academics from 11 institutions across the country (including Jodrell Bank Observatory), covering a broad spectrum of research topics, including potential methods for detecting signals, the linguistic challenge of deciphering messages, discovering planets around other stars and Astrobiology. This scientific endeavour looks at some of the most challenging questions we ask ourselves. In addition to this, he is now working on Machine Translation and Translation System text analytics, and on the 'Language of the Human Genome". John is also the coordinator for a newly formed Artificial Intelligence research group in the School of Computing, Creative Technology and Engineering.
Given this, his work impacts in many areas and he is often sought by the media (BBC TV, Radio etc), for his expert opinion, and has been interviewed in Scientific Magazines, such as Scientific American, Air & Space (Smithsonian), BBC Focus, New Scientist, and All About Space, where he is ranked as one of the "5 most important people in the hunt for life on other Planets." He also serves on International committees, such as the International Astronautical Association and has presented his work on language structure at the Royal Society.
Journal articles (3)
- Elliott JR; Baxter S (2012), The DISC Quotient. Acta Astronautica, vol. 78
- Baxter S; Elliott J (2012), A SETI metapolicy: New directions towards comprehensive policies concerning the detection of extraterrestrial intelligence. Acta Astronautica, vol. 78
- Elliott J (2012), Constructing the matrix. Acta Astronautica, vol. 78
- Elliott JR (2014) Modelling Human Visual Detection of Anti-Social Behaviour. In: Elliott JR I See Me, You See Me: Inferring Cognitive and Emotional Processes from Gazing Behaviour. : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. .
- If aliens contacted Earth, should we respond? And what would we say?
- Communicating with aliens
- Good News from the School of Computing, Creative Technologies & Engineering