Professor Michael John Witbrock

BSc(Hons) Otago, PhD Carnegie Mellon

Research | Current

Strong AI:

  • Natural Language as a knowledge representation
  • Reasoning with natural language
  • Teaching Deep Learning systems to Reason
  • Natural language understanding and question answering
  • Multimodal and cross modal reasoning
  • AI for Social Good

Michael's research group, the Strong AI Lab (SAIL), stands at the intersection of machine learning, reasoning and natural language understanding, with an additional focus on achieving the best social and civilizational impacts of increasingly powerful AI.

Teaching | Current

COMPSCI 703 Semester 1 2021

COMPSCI 367 Semester 2 2021

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD Students:  Zhenyun DENG, Qianqian QI, Quintus VAN WYK, Qiming BAO 



Areas of expertise

Artificial Intelligence; AI for Social Good; AI Entrepreneurialism; Natural Language Understanding; Machine Reasoning; Knowledge Representation; Deep Learning

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Executive Council, AI Forum NZ
Chairperson, AI for Good Foundation (
Science Director, Precision Driven Health

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Han, W., Chang, S., Liu, D., Yu, M., Witbrock, M., & Huang, T. S. (2018). Image Super-Resolution via Dual-State Recurrent Networks. Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition. 10.1109/CVPR.2018.00178
  • Karanam, H., Neelam, S., Sharma, U., Bhatia, S., Bedathur, S., Venkata Subramaniam, L., ... Makni, B. (2018). Scalable reasoning infrastructure for large scale knowledge bases. CEUR Workshop Proceedings.
  • Bradeško L, Witbrock, M., Starc, J., Herga, Z., Grobelnik, M., & Mladenić D (2017). Curious Cat--Mobile, Context-Aware Conversational Crowdsourcing Knowledge Acquisition. ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 35 (4), 1-46. 10.1145/3086686
  • Chang, S., Zhang, Y., Han, W., Yu, M., Guo, X., Tan, W., ... Huang, T. S. (2017). Dilated Recurrent Neural Networks.. NIPS.
  • Grobelnik, M., Mladenic, D., & Witbrock, M. J. (2017). Text Mining for the Semantic Web. In C. Sammut, G. I. Webb (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Machine Learning and Data Mining (pp. 1262-1263). Springer.
  • Witbrock, M. (2015). Dense Models from Videos: Can YouTube be the Font of All Knowledge Bases?. Paper presented at 5th ACM International Conference on Multimedia Retrieval (ICMR), Shanghai, PEOPLES R CHINA. 23 June - 26 June 2015. ICMR'15: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2015 ACM INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MULTIMEDIA RETRIEVAL. (pp. 1). 10.1145/2671188.2749414
  • Schneider, D., & Witbrock, M. (2015). Semantic Construction Grammar: Bridging the NL/Logic Divide. Paper presented at 24th International Conference on World Wide Web (WWW), Florence, ITALY. 18 May - 22 May 2015. WWW'15 COMPANION: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 24TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WORLD WIDE WEB. (pp. 6). 10.1145/2740908.2741710
  • Witbrock, M., & Bradeško L (2013). Conversational computation. Handbook of Human Computation (pp. 531-543). 10.1007/978-1-4614-8806-4_40


Contact details

Alternative contact

Izak Tait
Strong AI Lab Manager
Meetings, General Inquiries

Jillian Menezes
    (Backup for Izak Tait):

Office hours

Please book an intital meeting at

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 303 - Bldg 303
Level 4, Room 427
New Zealand

Social links

Web links