Graeme Hirst received a PhD in Computer Science from Brown University in 1983, and has worked at the University of Toronto ever since.
Professor Hirst's research has covered a broad but integrated range of topics in computational linguistics, natural language understanding, and related areas of cognitive science. These include the resolution of ambiguity in language understanding; psychological reality in natural language systems; the preservation of author's style in machine translation; recovering from misunderstanding and non-understanding in human-computer communication; and linguistic constraints on knowledge-representation systems. His present research includes the problem of near-synonymy in lexical choice in language generation; computer assistance for collaborative writing; and applications of lexical chaining as an indicator of semantic distance in texts. A recent spinoff of this research is an intelligent spelling checker. From 1994 to 1997, Professor Hirst was a member of the Waterloo-Toronto HealthDoc project, which aimed to build intelligent systems for the creation and customization of health-care documents.
Professor Hirst was the founding editor of Canadian Artificial Intelligence, and is on the editorial boards of Machine Translation and Computational Linguistics, having been book review editor of the latter for more than a decade. He has written or co-authored over 60 research papers, and is the author of two monographs: Anaphora in Natural Language Understanding (Springer-Verlag, 1981) and Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity (Cambridge University Press, 1987). He is the recipient of two awards for excellence in teaching, and a best-paper award at the AAAI-84 conference. He has supervised more than 35 theses and dissertations, four of which have been published as books.