Robert P. Futrelle

Associate Professor

Professor Futrelle’s research focuses on the automated analysis of the knowledge content of scientific research literature. The goal is to build information systems that take maximal advantage of the full text and figure content of the literature.

Professor Futrelle’s career has spanned theoretical physics, experimental biology, and computer science. He developed what was perhaps the first digital speech synthesis system; one of the first syntax-directed natural-language parsers; one of the first applications of linear programming to quantum-mechanics; the Galatea system for interactive analysis of moving images; the most extensive and detailed computer-based analysis of amoeboid cell locomotion of its time; and a landmark paper on automated diagram summarization.

In 1989, Professor Futrelle, supported by a major National Science Foundation grant, founded Northeastern’s Biological Knowledge Laboratory, which he still heads. His current research is aimed at developing a radically new infrastructure for computational linguistics. The infrastructure can support any view of language, but the current work uses construction grammar. He has consistently involved undergraduates in his research; some of them have gone on to PhD
programs in top-ranked universities.

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