Prof. Dr. Vera Demberg

Chair of Computer Science and Computational Linguistics
Department of Computer Science
co-opted Professor at Department of Language Science and Technology
Max Planck Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Saarbrücken  


Phone: +49 (0) 681 302 70024

Saarland University
Campus C7 2, Room 3.02
66123 Saarbrücken / Germany


Research interests

  • Cognitive Models of Human Language Understanding
  • Natural Language Generation
  • Experimental Psycholinguistics
  • Multimodal Language Processing 
  • Experimental and Computational Discourse and Pragmatics


Since 2024Max Planck Fellow at MPI for Informatics, Saarbrücken
Since 2021Professor (W3) for Computer Science and Computational Linguistics, Saarland University
2016-2021Professor (W2) for Computer Science and Computational Linguistics, Saarland University
2010-2016Head of Independent Research Group at the Cluster of Excellence, Saarland University
2006-2010Doctorate at the School of Informatics, Edinburgh University
2008Internship with Google, Mountain View (3 months)
2004-2005MSc in Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh University
2001-2006    Diplom in Linguistics, Stuttgart University

Prizes, awards, memberships

2024Elected as Member of the "Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz"
2023Fellow of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS), 2023
2020ERC Starting Grant "Individualized Interaction in Discourse", 5-year grant, 1.5m EUR
2014Selected for Falling Walls Lab 2014, Berlin; awarded A.T. Kearney Scholarship for the Falling Walls Conference
2011Cognitive Science Society Glushko Dissertation Prize, awarded 10,000 USD
2011Runner-up for 2011 CPHC / BCS Distinguished Dissertations Competition
2011Runner-up for FoLLI E. W. Beth Dissertation Prize 2011
2008Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Finalist, awarded 1,000 EUR
2007Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Finalist, awarded 1,000 EUR
2007Young Scientist Award for the best platform presentation by a junior scientist at the 13th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2007)
2005Edinburgh University Jim Howe Prize for best student in MSc AI
2002-2006  Full time scholarship from Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst

Professional Service (selection)

  • Exec Committee member of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) in elected role of ``Member at large" Jan 2023 -- Dec 2025
  • Program Chair for SigDIAL 2024
  • Associate Editor for IEEE Journal Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI; since 2023)
  • Associate Editor for Journal Dialogue and Discourse (2016-2023), Issue Editor for autumn issue 2019
  • Action Editor for Computational Linguistics Journal (2016-2018)
  • Management Committee since 2022, in the EU-funded COST Action CA21131 -- Enabling multilingual eye-tracking data collection for human and machine language processing research (MultiplEYE)
  • Workshops Chair: EMNLP 2019
  • Senior Area Chair:  ACL-IJCNLP 2021, EACL 2021
  • Area Chair: ARR Dec 2023, ARR Oct 2023, EMNLP 2023, CoLING 2022, LREC 2022, CoNLL 2018, CoLING 2016, EMNLP 2015, EACL 2014, NAACL 2013, Student Workshop EACL 2009
  • Best Paper Selection Committee: EMNLP 2020, ACL 2018
  • Workshop Organizer: IndiPRAG 2023, DiSpoL 2015, CMCL 2014, CMCL 2013, Scottish Psycholing meeting 2008
  • Standing Reviewer for journal Transactions of the ACL (TACL) since 2016

Invited Talks

  • Keynote Speaker at CLIC-it Venice, December 2023
  • Keynote Speaker at the 10th European Starting AI Researchers’ Symposium (STAIRS), October 2023
  • Keynote Speaker at Text+, September 2023
  • Keynote Speaker at CMCL Workshop, June 2022
  • Invited Speaker at UKP-CIS Joint Invited Talk Series, Dec 2021
  • Invited Speaker at Workshop on Computational Approaches to Discourse, Nov 2021
  • Invited Speaker at the Eighth Swedish Language Technology Conference (SLTC), Gothenburg, Nov 2020
  • Invited Speaker at Workshop "Explicit and implicit coherence relations: Different, but how exactly?", Berlin, Jan 2020
  • Invited Speaker at EurNLP conference, London, Oct 2019
  • Keynote Lecture at XPRAG conference, Edinburgh, June 2019
  • Invited Presentation Fraunhofer Institut Erlangen, Nov 2018
  • Invited Presentation at Workshop "Making sense of discourse", Utrecht, Sept 2018
  • Invited Talk at Interactive Media Lab, Dresden, May 2018
  • Invited Speaker at  Workshop "Implicit and explicit marking of discourse relations",Osnabrück, May 2018
  • Invited Talk at CLASP Göteborg, Feb 2018
  • Invited Talk at University of Geneva, Feb 2018
  • Invited Lecturer at DGfS autumn school in Düsseldorf, Sept 2017
  • Invited Speaker at Seminar Prof. Alessandro Lenci, Computational Linguistics Laboratory, Pisa
  • Keynote Speaker at International Conference on Parsing Technologies (IWPT), Pisa, Sept 2017
  • Invited Lecturer at Kavli Summer Institute (organized by Gina Kuperberg and Florian Jaeger): Computational Perspectives on Language Prediction in the Brain, Santa Barbara, California, July 2017
  • Invited Speaker at CSLI Workshop: Bridging computational and psycholinguistic approaches to the study of meaning, Feb 2017
  • Invited Lecturer at TextLink Training school in Prague, Feb 2017
  • Keynote Speaker at International Natural Language Generation conference (INLG), Edinburgh, Sept 2016
  • Invited Speaker at RefNet Roundtable Event, Aberdeen, Jan 2016
  • Keynote Speaker at the 11th Syntax and Semantics Conference (CSSP 2015) in Paris
  • Keynote speaker at Psycholinguistics in Flanders (PiF 2015), Namur, Belgium, May 2015
  • The Index of Cognitive Activity as a Measure of Language Processing Difficulty. Invited speaker at Forschungskolloquium Universität Köln (invitation by Prof. Petra Schumacher), May 2015
  • Let's not lose any information when mapping discourse relation schemes. Invited talk at COST action meeting in Fribourg, Mar 2015
  • An information-theoretic perspective on discourse relation processing. Invited speaker at colloquium, Utrecht University (invitation by Prof. Ted Sanders), Mar 2015
  • Invited Speaker at conference 'The Division of Labor: A View from Syntax, Semantics, Information Structure and Processing', Tübingen, Jan 2015
  • The Index of Cognitive Activity as a Measure of Linguistic Processing Difficulty. Invited speaker at colloquium, University of Osnabrück, Nov 2014
  • Short Presentation at Falling Walls Lab 2014, Berlin
  • Invited discussant at Workshop on Perceptual Salience, Freiburg
  • The Index of Cognitive Activity as a Measure of Linguistic Processing Difficulty. Invited Talk at KogWis Symposium 'Eye tracking, linking hypotheses and measures in language processing', Sep 2014
  • Processing discourse relations and connectors -- a psycholinguistic experimental perspective. Invited speaker at 11th international congress on linguistics (CILG),  May 2014
  • An information-theoretic perspective on discourse relations and discourse connectors. Psychology colloquium Kaiserslautern, Jan 23rd 2014
  • An information-theoretic perspective on discourse relations and discourse connectors. Linguistic Circle, Edinburgh University, Oct 4th 2013
  • Measuring (linguistically induced) cognitive load in realistic dual-task settings. ILCC Seminar, School of Informatics, Edinburgh University, Sep 30th 2013
  • Measuring cognitive load in dual-task settings. SFB Kolloquium Bielefeld, May 13th, 2013
  • Prediction in Language Comprehension. Invited talk at University of Tübingen (Oberseminar Detmar Meurers), April 19th, 2013
  • Invited Talk at KogWis (Conference of the German Cognitive Science Society) symposium, Oct 2012
  • Invited Tutorial at Workshop on Tree-Adjoining Grammars and related formalisms (TAG+11), Sep 2012
  • Modelling Incrementality and Prediction in Human Sentence Processing. Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Aix-en-Provence, May 11th, 2012
  • Modelling Incrementality and Prediction in Syntax and Discourse using PLTAG. Computerlinguistik Kolloquium, Universitaet Duesseldorf, May 3rd, 2012
  • Invited Talk at Incrementality in Linguistic and Musical Interaction Workshop, Queen Mary University of London and King's College London, 2011
  • Incrementality and Prediction in Syntax and Discourse. Linguistisches Kolloquium, Freie Universitaet Berlin, April 11th, 2012
  • Modelling Incrementality and Prediction in Syntax and Discourse. Computerlinguistik Kolloquium, Universitaet Potsdam, April 10th, 2012
  • A cognitive model of sentence processing using PsychoLinguistically motivated Tree-Adjoining Grammar. Common Ground seminar, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, March 28th, 2012
  • CLUNCH seminar, Department of Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania, March 22nd, 2012
  • A cognitive model of sentence processing using PsychoLinguistically motivated Tree-Adjoining Grammar. Computational Linguistics Colloquium, Saarland University, April 28th 2011
  • A Broad-Coverage Model of Prediction in Human Sentence Processing. Whamit! BCS Special Language Seminar, MIT, Boston, MA, Oct 2010
  • Modelling Prediction in Human Sentence Processing. Invited talk at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam, Feb 2010
  • Modelling Human Sentence Processing (on YouTube). Google Tech Talk, Mountain View, April 17th 2008
  • User Modelling and Content Structuring for Information Presentation in Spoken Dialog Systems. Talk presented at Google, Mountain View on February 15th 2008