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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre

A unique opportunity to participate in developing new approaches to tackling the rapid spread of fake news and misinformation.

Fake news, misinformation and disinformation are being created and circulated online with unprecedented speed and scale. There are concerns that this poses a serious threat to our modern digital societies by skewing public opinion about important issues and maliciously interfering with national election campaigns.

Fact-checking is an increasingly vital approach for tackling the rapid spread of false claims online. Specifically, there is an urgent need for automated systems that detect, extract and classify incorrect information in real time; and linguistic analyses of argument structure, entailment, stance marking, and evidentiality can assist the development of such systems.

We want to bring together people with different kinds of expertise to develop new approaches for tackling the problems posed by fake news, misinformation and disinformation. Taking an existing automated fact-checking system as a baseline, the main hackathon task will be to find ways of improving its performance. The experimental framework will be that used for the FEVER: Fact Extraction and VERification challenge (

Is it for me?

The task of dealing with false claims online is necessarily an interdisciplinary task. Therefore, this hackathon will create a collaborative environment for participants from a variety of backgrounds to come together to work in teams. Whether you already have strong coding skills, a specific interest in disciplines such as information engineering or natural language processing, a familiarity with linguistic theory, or even an interest in the philosophy of language, you will certainly be able to make valuable contributions during the hackathon!

In particular we encourage undergraduates and postgraduates:

• in Engineering / Computer Science, with good programming skills (esp. Python) • in Linguistics / Philosophy / Psychology / Sociology • with an interest in language-based AI technologies

The event runs from Friday to Sunday and attendees are expected to participate throughout.

Lunch will be provided on all three days, and there will be coffee and snacks throughout the hackathon to keep you going!

For more information, and to register

If you have any questions about the event or would like to discuss any specific requirements please contact Shauna Concannon


Friday, 10 January, 2020 - 10:00 to Sunday, 12 January, 2020 - 16:00
Event location: 
James Dyson Building, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1QA

What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.