Ryan Cotterell

Ryan Cotterell

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

ETH Zürich

University of Cambridge

I was born and raised in the city of Baltimore, Maryland—the greatest city in America. But you don’t have to take my word for it, it’s spray-painted on the city’s benches: alt text

I completed my undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University (also in Baltimore, Maryland) in Cognitive Science (with focal areas in Linguistics and Computational Methods) under the tutelage of Colin Wilson. I was then recruited by Jason Eisner to do a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University where I was a member of the Center for Language and Speech Processing; I also took quite a few courses in mathematics, statistics and linguistics along the way. I am currently a tenure-track assistant professor at ETH Zürich in the Department of Computer Science where I am a member of the Institut für maschinelles Lernen. I was previously a Lecturer (that’s British for tenure-track assistant professor) at the Computer Laboratory (the oldest computer science department in the world) at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom where I am still affiliated. I have also done research stints at Google AI, Facebook AI Research and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

I am curious about most things: Simone Teufel calls me a “research hippie”—I’ve never been quite sure what that means, though. It is my greatest dream to achieve near-native competence in an agglutinative language, but here’s hoping. Recent scholarly work that bears my name may be perused on my lab’s publication list.

Note: I am not taking students at the moment—my lab has reached critical mass. I spend roughly 3–4 hours a week with my primary (and secondary) advisees and a similar amount of time with many of my close collaborators as well. I am fresh out of cycles 😞

Note Note: Despite the above note, please feel free to email anyway—about anything. But, if you do email me, please address me by my first name: Ryan. I strongly disprefer academic titles and find them horridly elitist—to wit, please don’t ever call me Dr. Cotterell, Professor Cotterell, or (since I am in a German-speaking land) Professor Dr. Cotterell. How you address me in your email is a great shibboleth for whether you’ve actually read my page 😉

Family on the internet: My uncle John Cotterell is a painter; check him out here. My cousin Jake Velker does amazing work at the One Acre Fund. My parents (Thomas Cotterell and Gina Scarinzi) are not on the internet, but here’s a recent picture of us in London, England: alt text

Animal Form: Wug


  • Funiculars