The University of Southampton

Dr Stuart Middleton 

Senior Research Engineer

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Senior Research Engineer, Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), IT Innovation Centre

Stuart's research interests are focussed on natural language processing, computational linguistics, information extraction and machine learning. He has been a PI and CoI on various EU H2020, Innovate UK, DSTL, Home Office and Research Council projects. Many of these projects are cross-disciplinary in nature, featuring consortia with a mixture of academic and commercial partners experienced in a range of domains and disciplines. He has supervised students and mentored more senior researchers. His PhD looked into recommender systems and ontologies, working under supervisors Prof Dave de Roure and Prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt, and was completed in Oct 2002.


Research interests

Natural Language ProcessingComputational linguistics, Information Extraction, Machine Learning

My research interest lies in the area between natural language processing and information extraction, developing novel algorithms to discover and exploit patterns in free text and metadata to extract actionable human intelligence and machine-readable knowledge. In a juxtaposition to deep learning and big data approaches, my research has focussed on developing novel solutions to problems where training sets are small, sparse or fragmented in nature. This is very common in areas such as social media posts during breaking news events, emerging topics within online community forums, criminal marketplaces exhibiting deliberate obfuscation, and historical datasets where information can be inaccurately recorded, corrupted or lost over time. I am interested in investigating emergent patterns in language use by communities, how domain knowledge and expert feedback can bootstrap algorithms and approaches that can preserve domain semantics, provenance and promote explainable AI.

Research projects

FloraGuard project : an UK ESRC funded project. FloraGuard will examine and map from a multidisciplinary perspective the criminal market in endangered plants affecting the UK. Quantitative evidence will come from a combination of surface (web forums, social media) and dark web (TOR forums) crawling of cyber-criminal activity; natural language and machine learning used to socio-economically map this activity at a community level.

Intel-Analysis DSTL : a UK DSTL funded project. Intel-Analysis DSTL uses argumentation schemes and evidential reasoning to support teams of analysts trying to evaluate conflicting hypotheses during real-time events. Evidence is obtained in real-time from a combination of human intelligence reports and information extraction from social media via natural language processing.

REVEAL project : an EU funded FP7 project. REVEAL aims to advance the necessary technologies for making a higher level analysis of social media possible. Focussed on social media verification, including digita ltext forensics, trust and credibility analytics and decision support for journalists verifying user generated content.

GRAVITATE project : an EU funded H2020 project. Focussed on supporting geometric reconstruction and semantic reunification of cultural heritage objects using techniques such as semantic enrichment using natural language processing, graph matching and 3D geometric matching.

Digital Police Officer (DPO) project : a UK WSI funded project. The DPO project aims to apply linguistic analysis to identify cyber criminals operating under pseudonyms on different online forums and within the same forum. The project will apply natural language processing techniques guided by insights from criminology.

OFERTIE project : an EU funded FP7 project. OFERTIE aims to enhance and use the OFELIA Testbed for OpenFlow Programmable Networking to run experiments to establish how programmable networks can be used to support technical solutions such as multicast and managed QoS, and what business models and value chains would be able to use these solutions in an economically sustainable fashion.

TRIDEC project : an EU funded FP7 project. Focuses on context aware semantic information retrieval and data fusion for crisis management in the Tsunami early warning and Oil rig drilling domains. Work includes geospatial sensor information fusion for decision support, task context management and context aware information filtering of real-time sensor and video event streams.

ENVIROFI project : an EU funded FP7 project. Focuses on context aware semantic information fusion and the creation of future internet environmental enablers. Work includes geospatial sensor information fusion for marine and biodiversity domains, uncertainty context management and context aware information filtering of geo-distributed heterogeneous data streams publishing sensor time series, satellite images, video and web 2.0.

DESURBS project : an EU funded FP7 project. Focussed on knowledge-based decision support tools to help planning organizations (councils, city planners, companies) better understand the vulnerabilities and design possibilities when designing safer urban spaces. Work includes semantic enrichment, personalization of best practice reports, advanced visualization and use of mapping/charting tooling.

IRMOS project : an EU funded FP7 project. Focuses on application performance modelling for use in automated Cloud resource provisioning. Work includes using semantically annotated UML diagrams to produce discrete event simulations and optimised cloud provisioning strategies.

SANY project : an EU funded FP6 project. Focuses on interoperability of in-situ sensors and sensor networks. Work includes building an OGC compliant generic sensor information fusion infrastructure and use of semantic OGC standards to handle fusion processes and application datasets.

MUPPITS and POSTMARK projects : UK TSB funded projects. Focuses on media management for post-production companies. Work includes the creation of a media data and metadata warehouse with auditable event tracking and automated media management. Later work focussed on business models and exploitation paths via media partners such as Pinewood studios.

POLYMNIA project : an EU funded FP6 project. An intelligent cross-media platform for personalised leisure and entertainment in thematic parks or venues. Work included an automated video media production tool encoding directorial knowledge for automated personalized video editing.

PrestoSpace project : an EU funded FP6 project. The project's objective is to provide technical solutions and integrated systems for a complete digital preservation of all kinds of audio-visual collections. Work included a distributed rendering system for video restoration and the overall distributed control of mixed-media restoration sub-systems.

Moretea project : an EPSRC project. Electronic notebook project to improve the information environment for chemists doing chemistry - within and beyond the lab using semantic search within a secure environment.

SCULPTEUR project : an EU funded FP5 semantic web project. A digital library system for searching and retrieval of diverse multimedia representations to support the work of professional users in the fine arts. Work included semantic search and retrieval of mixed-media archives.

GEMSS project : an EU funded FP5 medical Grid project. Six medical imaging application are supported within a secure, commercial Grid infrastructure. Work included GRID based negotiation for medical simulation quality of service.


Lecturer: COMP3222/COMP6246 - Machine Learning Technologies

Supervisor: ELEC6200: Group Design Project


Middleton, Stuart Edward (2001) Interface agents: A review of the field University of Southampton

Middleton, Stuart Edward, Roure, David C. De and Shadbolt, Nigel R. (2001) Capturing knowledge of user preferences: ontologies in recommender systems. conference; 2001-10-01.

Middleton, Stuart E., Alani, Harith, Shadbolt, Nigel R. and Roure, David C. De (2002) Exploiting Synergy Between Ontologies and Recommender Systems. Semantic Web Workshop 2002 At the Eleventh International World Wide Web Conference Hawaii, USA.

Middleton, Stuart E. (2003) Capturing knowledge of user preferences with recommender systems. University of Southampton, ECS, Doctoral Thesis.

Middleton, Stuart E., Shadbolt, N.R. and De Roure, D.C. (2004) Ontological User Profiling in Recommender Systems. ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 22 (1), 54-88.

Middleton, Stuart E., Shadbolt, N.R. and De Roure, D.C. (2003) Capturing Interest Through Inference and Visualization: Ontological User Profiling in Recommender Systems. K-CAP2003, United States.

Benkner, S, Englebrecht, G, Backfrieder, G.W., Berti, G, Fingberg, J, Kohring, G, Schmidt, J.G, Middleton, Stuart E., Jones, D and Fenner, J (2003) Numerical Simulation for eHealth: Grid-enabled Medical Simulation Services. PARCO2003, Germany.

Benkner, S, Berti, G, Engelbrecht, G, Fingberg, J, Kohring, G, Middleton, Stuart E. and Schmidt, R (2004) GEMSS: Grid-infrastructure for Medical Service Provision. HealthGRID 2004, France. 29 - 30 Jan 2004.

Berti, G, Benker, S, Fenner, J.W., Fingberg, J, Lonsdale, G, Middleton, Stuart E. and Surridge, M (2003) Medical Simulation Services via the Grid. HealthGrid Workshop 2003, France.

Middleton, Stuart E., Shadbolt, N.R. and De Roure, D.C. (2003) Ontology-based Recommender Systems. In, Staab, S and Studer, R (eds.) Handbook on Ontologies in Information Systems. Springer.

Herveg, J, Crazzolara, F, Middleton, Stuart E., Marvin, D.J. and Poullet, Y (2004) GEMSS: Privacy and security for a Medical Grid. HealthGRID 2004, France. 29 - 30 Jan 2004.

Fenner, J. W, Mehrem, R. A, Ganesan, V, Riley, S, Middleton, S. E., Potter, K and Walton, L (2005) Radiosurgery Planning Supported by the GEMSS Grid. HealthGRID 2005, United Kingdom. 07 - 09 Apr 2005.

Beales, R. M., Addis, M. J. and Middleton, S. E. (2006) Ambient Multi-Camera Personal Documentary. Memories for Life Workshop. 11 - 12 Dec 2006.

Choi, F., Beales, R. M., Hearn, J., Middleton, S. E., Addis, M. J. and Mangos, C. (2006) A Feature-Augmented Grammar for Automated Media Production. AXMEDIS 2006: 2nd International Conference on Automated Production of Cross Media Content for Multi-channel Distribution, United Kingdom. 12 - 15 Dec 2006. pp. 315-318 .

Anagnostopoulos, V., Chatzis, S., Lalos, C., Doulamis, A., Kosmopoulos, D., Varvarigou, T., Neuschmied, H., Thallinger, G., Middleton, S. E., Addis, M.J., Bustos, E. and Giorgini, F. (2006) A Cross Media Platform for Personalized Leisure & Entertainment: The POLYMNIA Approach. AXMEDIS 2006: 2nd International Conference on Automated Production of Cross Media Content for Multi-channel Distribution, United Kingdom. 12 - 15 Dec 2006.

Beales, R. M., Middleton, S. E. and Addis, M. J. (2007) Ambient multi-camera personal documentaries. Fifth IEE International Conference on Computation in Electromagnetics, 1-1.

Middleton, Stuart E, Surridge, Mike, Benkner, Siegfried and Engelbrecht, Gerhard (2007) Quality of Service Negotiation for Commercial Medical Grid Services. Journal of Grid Computing 2007, 5 (4), 429-447.

Zlatev, Z., Middleton, S.E. and Veres, G. (2009) Ordinary kriging for on-demand average wind interpolation of in-situ wind sensor data. EWEC 2009, France. 16 - 19 Mar 2009. 7 pp .

Kosmopoulos, D.I., Doulamis, A., Makris, A., Doulamis, N., Chatzis, S. and Middleton, S.E. (2009) Vision-Based Production of Personalized Video. Signal Processing: Image Communication, 24, 158-176.

Middleton, S.E., Surridge, M., Nasser, B.I. and Yang, X (2009) Bipartite electronic SLA as a business framework to support cross-organization load management of real-time online applications. Real Time Online Interactive Applications on the Grid (ROIA 2009), Europar 2009.

Berti, G., Lonsdale, G, Schmidt, J.G., Benkner, S., Hose, D.R., Fenner, J.W., Jones, D.M., Middleton, S.E. and Wollny, G. (2008) Grid simulation services for the medical community. International Journal of Computational Intelligence.

Benkner, S., Engelbrecht, G., Middleton, S.E., Brandic, I and Schmidt, R (2007) End-to-End QoS Support for a Medical Grid Service Infrastructure. Journal of New Generation Computing.

Middleton, S.E., De Roure, D.C. and Shadbolt, N.R. (2002) Foxtrot Recommender System: User profiling, Ontologies and the World Wide Web. The Eleventh International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2002), United States. (Submitted)

Benkner, S., Brandic, I., Engelbrecht, G., Middleton, S.E. and Schmidt, R. (2006) Application-Level QoS Support for a Medical Grid Infrastructure. Grid Computing in Life Sciences, Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Life Science Grid, LSGrid.

Middleton, Stuart, Servin, Arturo, Zlatev, Zlatko, Nasser, Bassem, Papay, Juri and Boniface, Mike (2010) Experiences using the UML profile for MARTE to stochastically model postproduction interactive applications. eChallenges 2010 Conference Proceedings, Poland. (Submitted)

Zlatev, Zlatko, Middleton, Stuart and Veres, Galina (2010) Benchmarking Knowledge-assisted Kriging for Automated Spatial Interpolation of Wind Measurements. Fusion 2010. (Submitted)

Middleton, Stuart and Sabeur, Zoheir (2011) Knowledge-based service architecture for multi-risk environmental decision support applications. ISESS 2011, Czech Republic.

Zlatev, Zlatko, Middleton, Stuart, Veres, Galina, Salvo, Nicola and Sabeur, Zoheir (2010) Generic sensor data fusion services for Web-enabled environmental risk management and decision-support systems. EGU General Assembly. 1 pp . (Submitted)

Oliveros, Eduardo, Movilla, Jesus, Menychtas, Andreas, Keubert, Roland, Braitmaier, Michael, Middleton, Stuart, Phillips, Stephen, Boniface, Mike and Nasser, Bassem (2011) Web service specifications relevant for service oriented infrastructures. In, Kyriazis, Dimosthenis P., Varvarigou, Theodora A. and Konstanteli, Kleopatra (eds.) Achieving Real-Time in Distributed Computing: From Grids to Clouds. Hershey, US. IGI Global.

Oliveros, E., Cucinotta, T., Phillips, Stephen, Yang, X., Middleton, Stuart and Voith, T. (2011) Monitoring and metering on the cloud. In, Kyriazis, Dimosthenis, Varvarigou, Theodora A. and Konstanteli, Kleopatra (eds.) Achieving Real-Time in Distributed Computing: From Grids to Clouds. Hershey, US. IGI Global.

Sabeur, Zoheir, Middleton, S.E., Zlatev, Zlatko, Wachter, J., Haner, R., Hammitzsch, M. and Loewe, P. (2012) Knowledge base and sensor bus messaging service architecture for critical tsunami warning and decision-support. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 14 (EGU2012-12265-1).

Yang, Xiaoyu, Nasser, Bassem, Surridge, Mike and Middleton, Stuart (2012) A business-oriented Cloud federation model for real-time applications. [in special issue: Including Special sections SS: Trusting Software Behavior and SS: Economics of Computing Services] Future Generation Computer Systems, 28 (8), 1158-1167.

Bleier, Thomas, Bozic, Bojan, Bumerl-Lexa, Roman, da Costa, Alexandre, Costes, Sophie, Iosifescu, Ionut, Martin, Olivier, Frysinger, Steven, Havlik, Denis, Hilbring, Désirée, Jacques, Patrick, Klopfer, Martin, Kunz, Siegbert, Kutschera, Peter, Lidstone, Mark, Middleton, Stuart E., Roberts, Zoe, Sabeur, Zoheir, Schabauer, Johannes, Schlobinski, Sascha, Shu, Tingting, Simonis, Inigo, Stevenot, Bernard, Usländer, Thomas, Watson, Kym and Wittamore, Ken , Klopfer, Martin and Simonis, Ingo (eds.) (2009) SANY: an open service architecture for sensor networks , SANY Consortium

Middleton, Stuart E., Sabeur, Zoheir, Lowe, Peter, Chaves, Fernando and Siamak, Tavakoli (2011) Multi-disciplinary approaches to intelligently sharing large-volumes of real-time sensor data during natural disasters. 33rd International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), United States. 21 - 28 May 2011.

Middleton, Stuart E., Sabeur, Zoheir, Lowe, Peter, Hammitzsch, Martin, Tavakoli, Siamak and Poslad, Stefan (2013) Multi-disciplinary approaches to intelligently sharing large-volumes of real-time sensor data during natural disasters. [in special issue: Special Issue of the Proceedings of the 1st WDS Conference in Kyoto 2011,2013] Data Science Journal, 12, 109-113.

Middleton, Stuart, Zlatev, Z., Mossgraber, Jurgen, Chaves, Fernando and Tao, Ran (2013) The seven main challenges of an early warning system architecture. 10th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2013), Germany. 12 - 15 May 2013.

Middleton, Stuart E., Zielinski, Andrea, Tokarchuk, Laurissa N. and Wang, Xinyne (2013) Social-media text mining and network analysis to support decision support for natural crisis management. ISCRAM 2013, Germany. 12 - 15 May 2013.

Zielinski, Andrea, Middleton, Stuart E., Necmioglu, Ocal and Hammitzsch, Martin (2014) Spatio-temporal decision support system for natural crisis management with tweetComP1. Exploring New Directions for Decisions in the Internet Age (EWG-DSS 2013), Greece. 29 - 31 May 2013.

Middleton, Stuart E., Middleton, Lee and Modafferi, Stefano (2014) Real-time crisis mapping of natural disasters using social media. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 29 (2), 9-17.

Middleton, Stuart E., Gottron, Thomas and Schmitz, Johannes (2014) Focused exploration of geospatial context on linked open data. 3rd International Workshop on Intelligent Exploration of Semantic Data (IESD 2014), Italy. 20 Oct 2014.

Havlik, Denis, Soriano, Javier, Granell, Carolos, Middleton, Stuart E., van der Schaaf, Hylke, Berre, Arne and Pielorz, Jasmin (2013) Future internet enablers for VGI applications. EnviroInfo 2013, Germany. 02 - 04 Sep 2013.

Middleton, Stuart E. (2014) Social media analytics are evolving: from twitter-based crisis mapping to large-scale real-time situation assessment with trust and credibility analysis Bonn, DE. REVEAL Project Consortium

Middleton, Stuart E. (2014) TRIDEC and REVEAL projects: geoparsing and geosemantic knowledge model for trust and credibility analysis. Open Geospatial Consortium GeoSemantics DWG, OGC TC meeting, Switzerland.

Middleton, Stuart E., Zielinski, Andrea, Necmioglu, Ocal and Hammeritzsch, Martin (2014) Spatio-temporal decision support system for natural crisis management with TweetComP1. [in special issue: Euro Working Group Workshops, EWG-DSS 2013, Thessaloniki, Greece, May 29-31, 2013, and Rome, Italy, July 1-4, 2013, Revised Selected and Extended Papers] Decision Support Systems III - Impact of Decision Support Systems for Global Environments, 184, 11-21. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-11364-7_2).

Middleton, Stuart E. (2015) REVEAL Project overview - trust and credibility analysis. RDSM-2015 Workshop at WWW-2015, Italy. 19 May 2015. 17 pp .

Poslad, Stefan, Middleton, Stuart E., Chaves, Fernando and Tao, Ran (2015) A semantic IoT early warning system for natural environment crisis management. [in special issue: Advances in Semantic Computing] IEEE Transaction on Emerging Topics in Computing, 3 (2), 246-257. (doi:10.1109/TETC.2015.2432742).

Middleton, Stuart E. and Modafferi, Stefano (2015) Experiences monitoring and managing QoS using SDN on testbeds supporting different innovation stages. 2015 1st IEEE Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft), United Kingdom. 13 - 17 Apr 2015. pp. 1-5 . (doi:10.1109/NETSOFT.2015.7116136).

Middleton, Stuart (2015) Extracting attributed verification and debunking reports from social media: MediaEval-2015 trust and credibility analysis of image and video. MediaEval 2015, Germany. 14 - 15 Sep 2015. 3 pp .

Hooper, Clare, Middleton, Stuart, van Hardeveld, Gert and Surridge, Michael (2015) The Digital Police Officer using linguistic analysis to identify cybercriminals. Web Science Institute One Year On: Privacy and Trust in the Era of Big Data Analytics. Web Science Institute Workshop 2015, United Kingdom. 08 Jun 2015.

van Hardeveld, Gert, Webber, Craig, Hooper, Clare and Middleton, Stuart (2015) The Digital Police Officer: using natural language processing to identify cybercriminals. Eurocrim 2015, Portugal. 02 - 05 Sep 2015.

Middleton, Stuart (2015) Semi-automated extraction of attributed verification and debunking reports from social media Southampton, GB. University of Southampton 6pp.

Middleton, Stuart (2015) Visualization for social media verification. ICT 2015 Lisbon, 20-22 October 2015, Portugal. 20 - 22 Sep 2015.

Middleton, Stuart E. and Krivcovs, Vadims (2016) Geoparsing and geosemantics for social media: spatio-temporal grounding of content propagating rumours to support trust and veracity analysis during breaking news. [in special issue: Trust and Veracity of Information in Social Media] ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 34 (3), part Article 16, 1-27. (doi:10.1145/2842604).

Middleton, Stuart (2016) Veracity and velocity of social media content during breaking news: analysis of November 2015 Paris shootings. In WWW '16 Companion: Proceedings of the 25th International Conference Companion on World Wide Web. ACM.. (doi:10.1145/2872518.2890095).

Biasotti, Silvia, Cerri, Andrea, Catalano, Chiara, Falcidieno, Bianca, Torrente, Maria, Middleton, Stuart, Dorst, Leo, Shimshoni, Ilan, Tal, Ayellet and Oldman, Dominic (2016) Report on shape analysis and matching and on semantic matching (GRAVITATE, D3.1) Southampton, GB. CNR-IMATI & members of GRAVITATE Consortium 91pp. (In Press)

Middleton, Stuart and Modafferi, Stefano (2016) Scalable classification of QoS for real-time interactive applications from IP traffic measurements. Computer Networks, 107, 1-18. (doi:10.1016/j.comnet.2016.04.017).

Middleton, Stuart (2016) Observational study - how do journalists really verify user generated content. REVEAL.

Middleton, Stuart (2016) Observational study - how do journalists really verify user generated content?

Middleton, Stuart, Papadopoulos, Symeon and Kompatsiaris, Yiannis (2018) Social computing for verifying social media content in breaking news. IEEE Internet Computing, 22 (2), 83-89. (doi:10.1109/MIC.2018.112102235).

Boididou, Christina, Middleton, Stuart E., Jin, Zhiwei, Papadopoulos, Symeon, Dang-Nguyen, Duc-Tien, Boato, Giulia and Kompatsiaris, Yiannis (2017) Verifying information with multimedia content on twitter: A comparative study of automated approaches. Multimedia Tools and Applications. (doi:10.1007/s11042-017-5132-9).

Middleton, Stuart, Kordopatis-Zilos, Giorgos, Papadopoulos, Symeon and Kompatsiaris, Yiannis (2018) Location extraction from social media: geoparsing, location disambiguation and geotagging. ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 36 (4), 1-27. (doi:10.1145/3202662).

Cerutti, Federico, Norman, Timothy J., Toniolo, Alice and Middleton, Stuart E. (2018) from fact extraction to report generation. In Computational Models of Argument - Proceedings of COMMA 2018. vol. 305, IOS Press. pp. 269-280 . (doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-906-5-269).


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