The Institute for Computational Linguistics (ILC) was established in 1980, as an autonomous Institute of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR). It is the first centre in Italy dedicated to Computational Linguistics as an autonomous discipline and one of the first at international level.

Since its establishment, the Institute has represented and continues to represent an important point of reference in the field of Computational Linguistics.


Antonio Zampolli

  • Antonio Zampolli (1980 -2003)
  • Nicoletta Calzolari (2003-2008)
  • Andrea Bozzi (2008-2013)
  • Vito Pirrelli (June-November 2013)
  • Simonetta Montemagni (2013-2017 | from December 2017)

In 1969 the University of  Pisa sets up the first Italian chair of Computational Linguistics (at that time called “Mathematical Linguistics”) that is appointed to Antonio Zampolli, who is also appointed head of the Linguistics Division of the CNUCE (National University Center of Electronic Computing) in Pisa.

In 1978 the Linguistics Division of CNUCE becomes first a Laboratory and, later, in 1980, an autonomous Institute of the CNR, the Institute for Computational Linguistics (ILC). Since then, the ILC is involved in promoting and implementing initiatives at national and international levels to foster the development of the state-of-art in strategic sectors of the discipline.

At the end of the 90’s, thanks to fundings from the MURST (now MIUR), Antonio Zampolli, the then director of the ILC, promotes and coordinates the first two Italian projects on Natural Language Processing (NLP), involving the most prominent figures of national research in the field of Computational Linguistics, in both the academic and industrial sector: the SI-TAL project (Integrated System for Natural Language Processing), funded under the law n. 46/82 art. 10 (National infrastructure for linguistic resources in the field of spoken and written natural language processing), and the “Computational Linguistics: monolingual and multilingual searches” Scheme funded under the law 488 dated December 16, 1992 (Cluster 18).

The Institute is among the founding members of the network Forum TAL (2002) and of the TAL Intesa agreement (2012) which has defined an institutional framework for the cooperation and the creation of synergies between some of the major Italian research centers operating in the Natural Language Processing field. Furthermore, it has contributed to the creation and development of EVALITA (2007) and AILC (Italian Association for Computational Linguistics) (2015).

On the international level, thanks to numerous partnerships with public and private research centers, European and non-European, the ILC since its establishment activates synergies between all those interested in Natural Language Processing (NLP) in order to identify needs and priorities, to define work programs and to monitor the progresses made, avoiding duplication of efforts.

The ILC has always been promoting the inclusion of the Italian language in the multilingual network of the global society and has been influencing the strategic decisions implemented by international bodies in the different sectors of Computational Linguistics through:

  • the participation in the activities of the major international scientific associations in the reference field (such as ELRA, ALLC, EURALEX, ACL, ACH);
  • the organisation of international events like the “International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation” (LREC);
  • the promotion and/or participation in international networks (from the very first networks at the beginning of the 90’s, like ELSNET and ENABLER, to the more recent CLARIN, FlaReNet, META-NET and NetwordS).