Antonio Zampolli, founder of the Cnr-Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale “Antonio Zampolli”, is a pioneer in the field of Computational Linguistics, both nationally and internationally.


He began working with Father Roberto Busa S. J. at the Center for the Automation of Linguistic Analysis (CAAL) in Gallarate as coordinator of the electronic perusal of the Opera Omnia of St. Thomas Aquinas.


He became director of the Linguistics Division of the National University Centre for Electronic Computing (CNUCE) in Pisa.


He began teaching Computational Linguistics (at the time called “Mathematical Linguistics”) at the University of Pisa.


He founded the Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italian National Research Council), which he directed until his death (Aug. 22, 2003).

Antonio Zampolli’s main areas of research

  • computational lexicology and lexicography
  • computer-assisted language teaching
  • formal grammars and parsers
  • literary and linguistic textual analysis
  • machine translation, multimedia and multilingualism
  • quantitative linguistics
  • design and construction of language resources
  • standards for literary and linguistic data processing

Biographical profile

Degree in Classics. Thesis in Linguistics: “Studies in Statistical Linguistics with IBM Machine,” 110 cum laude, University of Padua (1960).

NATO scholarship, “International Summer School on Automatic Translation” (1961) and NATO scholarship, “International Summer School on Automatic Documentation” (1962).

Research Director and Assistant Director of the Centre for the Automation of Linguistic Analysis (CAAL), Gallarate and Pisa (1960-1966).

Researcher (Senior Engineer) at the IBM Centre in Pisa, Head of the Computational Linguistics Unit (1967-1975).

Full Professor of Computational Linguistics at the University of Pisa (1969), founder and Director of the Linguistics Division of CNUCE (1969), transformed into a Laboratory in 1978, and in 1980 into an autonomous institute: Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale (ILC) of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italian National Research Council). This is the first Italian scientific institute entirely devoted to research in the field of Computational Linguistics.

Antonio Zampolli has been particularly involved in developing strategies for international collaboration and proposing new research paradigms.

Antonio Zampolli’s assignments

  • president of ALLC, EURALEX, GILA
  • vice-president of ACH, ICCL, AILA, CETIL
  • founder and President of the ELRA Board
  • chairman of the International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC)
  • director of the Pisa International Summer Schools for Literary and Linguistic Computing
  • member of the TEI Steering Committee
  • member of the Linguistic Data Consortium Advisory Boar
  • founder and member of the ELSNET Management Board
  • member of several expert committees of the European Community
  • representative for Literary and Linguistic Computing on the Permanent Steering Committee of the European Science Foundation and in the Executive Committee of ACL
  • Coordinator of numerous European projects, particularly for the creation and standardisation of language resources and for international collaboration
  • coordinator of Italian national projects, the latest of which were “National Infrastructure for Language Resources in the Automated Processing of Natural Written and Spoken Language” and “Computational Linguistics: mono and multilingual researches”
  • promoter of national projects in the field of digital libraries in the Humanities
  • member of the editorial board of numerous scientific publications: “Computers and the Humanities”, “Histoire et Mesure”, “Review of Applied Linguistics”, “Literary and Linguistic Computing”, etc.
  • Director of the Italian journal“ Linguistica Computazionale”, he founded in 1981 and originally published by IEPI (Pisa-Rome)
  • organizer and chairman of numerous international congresses

Memories of those who knew Antonio Zampolli

ELRA Newsletter, Vol. 8 n°3 & n°4, 2003, Special Issue in Memory of Antonio Zampolli
Nicoletta Calzolari: Antonio Zampolli. Una vita per la Linguistica computazionale, Bollettino ‘900 2003 2 (Dec)
Harold Short: Antonio Zampolli’s Obituary
Alessandro Lenci: Antonio Zampolli 1937-2003, Humanist discussion group 25 Aug 2003
C. Michael Sperberg-McQueen: Antonio Zampolli: A Memorial Tribute, TEI-L discussion list 27 Aug 2003
Susan Hockey: Obituary: Antonio Zampolli 1937–2003, Literary and Linguistic Computing 2004 19: 427-430
Harold Short and John Unsworth: In memoriam: Antonio Zampolli, Humanist discussion group 12 Sep 2003
Willard McCarty: The lifetime burning in every moment
Joseph McRaben: Tribute to Zampolli

In his name

ELRA Antonio Zampolli Prize
Antonio Zampolli Memorial Scholarship awarded by ForumTAL
Antonio Zampolli Prize awarded by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations (ADHO)
Antonio Zampolli Collection of CNR-ILC Library