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Brian Murphy

(formerly Post-doctoral researcher, Lecturer)

In October 2011 I moved to Carnegie Mellon University to work in Tom Mitchell's group studying language in the brain. Please visit my new homepage at

How concepts and linguistic meaning are stored in the mind and brain has occupied some of our best minds for centuries. Several recent developments now offer the promise of a comprehensive answer to the question: the easy availability of enormous quantities of authentic text over the web, and the more nuanced semantic models that can be derived from this; the application of machine learning and data-mining techniques to decode cognitive states from recordings of neural data; and the development of hybrid models that combine corpus-based, psychologically-founded, and neurally-grounded representations of meaning.

Research Interests:

  • Representation of Concepts in the Mind and Brain
  • Machine Learning approaches to Mining EEG, MEG and MRI data
  • Corpus Based Approaches to Word Meaning
  • Acceptability Judgements and Grammaticality
  • Semantics and Pragmatics of Argument Structure Realisation
  • Information Hiding in Plain Text
  • Languages: English, German, Chinese (Standard/Mandarin), Spanish, Italian, Irish
Recent Events:
  • Computational Session at CAOS Workhop on the neuroscience of concepts, May 20th 2010, Rovereto (organiser)
  • First Workshop on Computational Neurolinguistics, NAACL-HLT, 6th June 2010, Los Angeles (organiser with Kaimin Chang of Carnegie Mellon, and Anna Korhonen of Cambridge University)
  • Special Session on Neural Decoding of Higher Cognitive States, ICCS, 19th/20th August, Beijing (organiser with David Melcher)
  • Tutorial on Computational Neurolinguistics, COLING, 22nd August, Beijing (instructor)
Peer-Reviewed Publications:
  • Brian Murphy, Massimo Poesio, Francesca Bovolo, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Michele Dalponte, Heba Lakany, 2011: EEG decoding of semantic category reveals distributed representations for single concepts. Brain and Language, Volume 117, Pages 12-22. [Paper]
  • Brian Murphy, Massimo Poesio, 2010: Detecting Semantic Category in Simultaneous EEG/MEG Recordings. Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Neurolinguistics, NAACL-HLT, Los Angeles[Paper]
  • Marco Baroni, Brian Murphy, Eduard Barbu, Massimo Poesio, 2010: Strudel: A Corpus-Based Semantic Model Based on Properties and Types. Cognitive Science, Volume 34 Issue 2, Pages 222-254[Paper | Supplementary Materials]
  • Brian Murphy, Marco Baroni, Massimo Poesio, 2009: EEG Responds to Conceptual Stimuli and Corpus Semantics. Proceedings of ACL/EMNLP 2009, Singapore. [Paper]
  • Brian Murphy, Michele Dalponte, Massimo Poesio and Lorenzo Bruzzone, 2008: Distinguishing Concept Categories from Single-Trial Electrophysiological Activity. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Washington, July 2008. [Paper | Presentation]
  • Brian Murphy and Carl Vogel, 2007: Statistically constrained shallow text marking: techniques, evaluation paradigm, and results. In Edward J. Delp III and Ping Wah Wong, (Eds.) Security, Steganography, and Watermarking of Multimedia Contents IX, 28 January-February 2007, San José. [Paper]
  • Brian Murphy and Carl Vogel, 2007: The syntax of concealment: reliable methods for plain text information hiding. In Edward J. Delp III and Ping Wah Wong, (Eds.) Security, Steganography, and Watermarking of Multimedia Contents IX, 28 January-February 2007, San José. [Paper]
  • Brian Murphy and Carl Vogel, 2005: A Comparative Evaluation of UNL Participant Relations using a Five-Language Parallel Corpus, in Cardeñosa et al (eds.), 2005, Universal Networking Language: Advances in Theory and Applications, Research in Computer Science Vol. 12, CIC, Mexico City. [Paper]
  • Brian Murphy, 2003: Tuning Themes: Finding an Appropriate Model of Roles for Translation. Poster at the 14th Irish Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, Dublin, September 2003. [Paper]

Other Manuscripts and Presentations
  • Brian Murphy and Carl Vogel, 2008: An Empirical Comparison of Measurement Scales for Judgements of Acceptability. Poster at International Conference on Linguistic Evidence 2008, University of Tübingen, February 2008. [Poster]
  • Brian Murphy, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Michele Dalponte, Massimo Poesio and Heba Lakany, 2008: Predicting category specific effects in single-subject electrophysiological activity. Presentation to 26th European Workshop on Cognitive Neuropsychology 2008, Bressanone, January 2008. [Poster]
  • Massimo Poesio, Marco Baroni, Brian Murphy, Eduard Barbu, Luigi Lombardi, Abdulrahman Almuhareb, David Vinson and Gabriella Vigliocco, 2007: Speaker-Generated and Corpus-Generated Features. Presentation to Concepts Types and Frames, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, August 2007. [Presentation]
  • Brian Murphy, 2007: A Study of Notions of Participation and Discourse in Argument Structure Realisation. Doctoral Thesis, Dept. of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin. [Thesis]
  • Lisandro Kaunitz, Brian Murphy, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Francesca Bolovo, Massimo Poesio and David Melcher, 2008: Predicting perceptual states from EEG single trial analysis. Poster at Rovereto Attention Workshop, CIMeC, University of Trento, October 2008. [Poster]
  • Brian Murphy, Carl Vogel and Conny Opitz, 2005: Cross-linguistic Empirical Analysis of Constraints on Passive. Presentation to the Symposium on Interdisciplinary Themes in Cognitive Language Research, University of Helsinki, November 2005. [Extended Abstract | Presentation]
  • Huang Chu-Ren, Elanna Tseng, Dylan Tsai and Brian Murphy, 2003: Cross-lingual Portability of Semantic relations: Bootstrapping Chinese WordNet with English WordNet Relations. Languages and Linguistics, Vol 4.3, pp509-532, Academica Sinica, Taipei. [Paper]
  • Brian Murphy, 2001: Syntactic Information Hiding in Plain Text. Masters Thesis, CLCS, Trinity College Dublin. [Thesis]

Teaching experience:
  • Undergraduate course in Computational Linguistics on Interfaces and Communication Technology programme (taught through Italian), University of Trento, 2009-2010  [Course Page]
  • Summer school course on Grammaticality Judgements as Linguistic Evidence, at the ESSLLI, University of Bordeaux, July 2009 [Course Page]
  • Undergraduate courses Introduction to Programming; Data Structures and Algorithms (taught through German);  and Technical Translation (German) on programme in Computational Linguistics, Trinity College Dublin, 2003-2006.

Professional experience:
  • Visiting Researcher (Chinese WordNet), Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, summer 2002
  • Director of Software Development (realtime web delivery of news and markets information), (a Reuters company), Beijing, 1999-2000
  • Senior Developer (realtime intranet delivery of news and markets information), Reuters, Beijing, 1997-1999
  • Webmaster (online magazine), Beijing Scene, Beijing, 1997
  • Web Developer, MEX Multimedia, Munich, 1995-1997
  • Research Assistent (scientific imaging and visualisation), Technical University of Munich, 1994