Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Stirling
Unit of AssessmentComputer Science and Informatics
Summary Impact TypeTechnological
Research Subject Area(s)
Information and Computing Sciences: Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, Information Systems
Summary of the impact
Extracting information and meaning from natural language text is central
to a wide variety of computer applications, ranging from social media
opinion mining to the processing of patient health-care records. Sentic
Computing, pioneered at the University of Stirling, underpins a unique set
of related tools for incorporating emotion and sentiment analysis in
natural language processing. These tools are being employed in commercial
products, with performance improvements of up to 20% being reported in
accuracy of textual analysis, matching or even exceeding human performance
(Zoral Labs). Current applications include social media monitoring as part
of a web content management system (Sitekit Solutions Ltd), personal photo
management systems (HP Labs India) and patient opinion mining (Patient
Opinion Ltd). Impact has also been achieved through direct collaboration
with other commercial partners such as Microsoft Research Asia, TrustPilot
and Abies Ltd. Moreover, international organisations such as the Brain
Sciences Foundation and the A*Star Institute for High Performance
Computing have realised major impact by drawing upon our research.
Sentic Computing, a term first coined by Stirling scientists Amir Hussain
and Erik Cambria in 2010 , is the analysis of sentiment from natural
language text. It is based on the semantic, latent and implicit meaning of
concepts, permitting open-domain sentiment analysis. The analysis of
natural language is based on affective ontologies and common sense
reasoning tools, enabling the analysis of text not only at a document,
page or paragraph level, but also at sentence and clause level. Current
keyword-based approaches can perform well on specific datasets, but
accuracy drops drastically on domain change. Sentic Computing provides the
capability for maintaining accuracy when switching between different
domains. Sentic Computing is novel because:
- It has a unique multi-disciplinary approach — which is not only
computational but also biologically-inspired and
- It goes well beyond keyword-based approaches — employing not only word
co-occurrences but also cognitive and affective information associated
with a range of concepts.
- It enables fine-grained analysis of text — not only at the document,
page or paragraph level, but also at a sentence and clause level.
The inter-disciplinary research underpinning Sentic Computing was carried
out through an EPSRC and industrial (Sitekit Solutions Ltd) co-funded
research grant (CASE studentship) from 2009 to 2012 (Hussain: PI, and E.
Cambria: PhD student). This was aimed at developing a novel intelligent
software engine for auto-categorising and auto-tagging documents. A
particular application with Sitekit is in e-health monitoring systems .
The research has led to the development of a range of novel Sentic
Computing models, tools, and techniques, with applications in many areas,
The Hourglass of Emotions: a biologically-inspired and
psychologically-motivated model for the representation and the analysis
of human emotions.
AffectiveSpace: a vector space model for reasoning by analogy
on affective common sense knowledge.
SenticNet: a publicly available semantic resource for opinion
mining built using an ensemble of AI and Semantic Web techniques,
released in 2010 .
IsaCore: a semantic network of common and common sense
knowledge for auto-categorization.
As will be detailed below, much of this work was carried out in direct
collaboration with a number of companies (in addition to Sitekit), so that
commercial application began before the underpinning research being
carried out at Stirling was finally published. The current
state-of-the-art is summarised in a book on Sentic Computing by Cambria
and Hussain , and the research is reported in recently published
References to the research
 E. Cambria, T. Benson, C. Eckl, and A. Hussain. Sentic PROMs:
Application of sentic computing to the development of a novel unified
framework for measuring health-care quality. Expert Systems with
Applications 39(12), pp. 10533-10543 (2012)
 E. Cambria and A. Hussain. Sentic Computing: Techniques, Tools, and
Applications. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, ISBN: 978-94-007-5069-2
 E. Cambria and A. Hussain. Sentic album: Content-, concept-, and
context-based online personal photo management system. Cognitive
Computation 4(4), pp. 477-496 (2012)
 E. Cambria, M. Grassi, A. Hussain, and C. Havasi. Sentic computing
for social media marketing. Multimedia Tools and Applications 59(2), pp.
EPSRC CASE studentship (2009-2012): "Application of Common Sense
Computing for Enabling Next-generation Semantic Web Applications" PI: A.
Hussain; PhD Student: E. Cambria. Co-funded by SiteKit Solutions Ltd.
(Scotland) and in collaboration with MIT Media Lab (USA). See CASE
Studentship Interface article: http://interfaceonline.org/uploads/3804/Sitekit_09.pdf
Details of the impact
Evidence of the approach's significant commercial impact can be found in
the adoption of Sentic Computing tools and techniques (as part of bigger
commercial systems) by large international companies who are Stirling
collaborators. These can be specifically outlined as follows:
(1) HP Labs India for image metadata processing, social network
analysis, user profiling, social communication, and troll filtering.
(2) Microsoft Research Asia for text categorisation, knowledge
base design and sentiment polarity detection.
(3) Zoral Labs for real-time monitoring and extraction of
transactions from any type of unstructured data.
(4) TrustPilot for effective commercial machine learning
Three UK SME companies have also adopted our techniques, namely
(5) Patient Opinion Ltd for the automatic analysis of
unstructured patient opinions.
(6) Abies Ltd for the daily measurement of patients' healthcare
quality of life.
(7) Sitekit Solutions Ltd (a Microsoft Gold Partner company) for
document and web-page auto-categorisation.
In addition, the following international institutes have drawn upon our
Sentic Computing research:
(8) The Brain Sciences Foundation (http://www.brainsciences.org/)
represents a collaboration between MIT, University of Oxford, UCLA at
Irvine, Boston University and University of Paris, which is physically
located in Providence, Rhode Island. It has used our Sentic computing
research for metaphor detection.
(9) The A*STAR Institute for High Performance Computing is a
research institute (http://www.ihpc.a-star.edu.sg/)
supported by the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research. It
has employed Sentic Computing to underpin a suite of analytical tools.
The depth and reach of the impact of our research on all the
organisations outlined above can be highlighted by considering the
following products and tools:
(i) Social Media Marketing Tool: this is an
intelligent Sentic Computing based web application that helps companies
efficiently visualise and manage relevant social media information, and
accordingly perform product positioning. The tool, released in 2012, is
used by Stirling's industrial funding partner, Sitekit Solutions Ltd
in the field of social media monitoring and is offered as additional
functionality to Sitekit customers within Sitekit's
current commercial content management systems.
(ii) Sentic PROMs: this represents a new framework
that exploits the ensemble application of standard PROMs (patient-reported
outcome measures) and Sentic Computing for measuring patients' health
related quality of life in a semi-structured way. The commercial
development of Sentic PROMs was funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board
funded grant, eCommissioning Community to Support NHS GP Consortia (£858k,
TSB Grant Reference: 12074-75246), with C. Grant (CEO of Sitekit
Solutions Ltd) as Principal Investigator and T. Benson (CEO of Abies
Ltd) as Co-Investigator (and co-author of research reference 
above). Sentic PROMs are now in use by Sitekit Ltd's partner, Abies
Ltd, in place of their standard PROMs as a key clinical assessment
tool. Stirling played a major role during this development (which required
company visits by Cambria). The CEO of Abies Ltd has said, "Sentic
PROMs are the next-stage of health-related quality of life measurement,
and are helping substantially expand Abies healthcare business".
(iii) SENTRA: Stirling-pioneered Sentic Computing tools and techniques
have also been adopted into a commercial product by Zoral Labs, a
world-leading company specialising in processing unstructured data.
According to Zoral Labs, most state-of-the-art textual analysis
engines are not granular (i.e. are not sentence-level based), and
understand neither "context" nor "relationships". They achieve accuracy
rates below 70%. However, Zoral Labs' novel scalable Sentic
Computing based sentiment transactions system (SENTRA) (now available on
the market, and which exploits Stirling published research and software)
has been found in their tests to routinely deliver accuracy rates in
excess of 85-90%. This is equivalent to, or even slightly in excess of,
human performance. The Business Development Manager at Zoral Labs
said "we are proud to confirm that we have employed the sentic
computing engine developed by Stirling in our commercial product,
SENTRA. We always want to be updated with state-of-the-art technologies
and sentic computing is surely the next stage of intelligent opinion
(iv) Sentic Album: this is a content, concept, and
context based online personal photo management system. Sentic Album
modules, released in 2012, are now used by HP Labs India, for
photo management systems. In addition, The Hourglass of Emotions,
a biologically-inspired and psychologically-motivated model for the
representation and the analysis of human emotions, released in 2012, has
been adopted for several applications by HP Labs India. This work
was facilitated by Cambria spending six months on an invited research
visit to HP Labs. A senior researcher at HP Labs has said,
"The sentic framework developed by Stirling has been applied in several
applications designed here at the Labs. It's been a joy to collaborate
with Erik and Amir and I am looking forward to the next SenticNet
(v) Crowd Validation: this is a process for mining
patient opinions that can be applied to any domain for bridging the gap
between unstructured and structured data. Contacts through Sitekit Ltd
resulted in Stirling collaborating in parallel with, Patient Opinion
Ltd. This company is now commercially exploiting such a process,
released in 2010, for automatically categorising new patient opinions and
hence for improving opinion search. The CEO of Patient Opinion said: "The
growth of Patient Opinion over the past few years was greatly affected
by the adoption of Cambria and Hussain's Crowd Validation technique, in
which we can now easily aggregate patient-related information in a more
meaningful and user-friendly way".
(vi) AffectiveSpace: this is a vector space
representation of AffectNet for reasoning by analogy on affective common
sense knowledge. The tool is being used by Luminoso (spin-off of Stirling
collaborators, MIT Common Sense Computing) for detecting the polarity of
sentiments in natural language text. MIT acted as a project partner on the
collaborative project between Stirling and Sitekit Ltd, with
Cambria spending time at MIT, with one outcome being this application.
(vii) IsaCore: this is a semantic network of common
(and common-sense) knowledge for auto-categorization built upon
ConceptNet and Probase. IsaCore, released in 2012, has been adopted by
Stirling's Chinese collaborator, Microsoft Research Asia, for the
retrieval of semantically related concepts/instances in Probase as it
outperforms previous probabilistic approaches to reasoning by analogy.
This collaboration arose from contacts made through Sitekit Ltd
and the Chinese Academy of Sciences which (jointly with the Royal Society
of Edinburgh) funds a separate research collaboration with Stirling.
Cambria spent several months at Microsoft Research Asia. The Head
of the Web Search and Data Mining Group said "SenticNet and Sentic
Computing by Cambria and Hussain are ground-breaking technologies that
are helping our team to enrich ProBase and to showcase its usefulness in
many different NLP applications such as topic modelling and opinion
(viii) IARPA Metaphor Project: The Brain Sciences
Foundation has drawn upon our research in their IARPA (Intelligence
Advanced Research Projects Activity) Metaphor project to enable deeper
understanding of metaphor detection. The MIT Director of the Brain
Sciences Foundation, involved with IARPA, said, "I am delighted
to confirm that sentic computing techniques pioneered by Erik and Amir
have been widely adopted by the Brain Sciences Foundation and have been
deployed as the core sentiment and opinion mining module of our existing
commercial system. We believe this has added significant value to our
system, and is continuing to attract the interest of various companies
around the world. We have employed SenticNet in many different projects
of ours including the IARPA Metaphor Project, for metaphor detection and
(ix) SPICE: This is a suite of analytical tools
that has been developed by the A*STAR institute and which draws
heavily on our research. A principal investigator at A*STAR said,
"We have adopted Sentic Computing to develop a human-in-the-loop
platform with a suite of analytic tools for social media monitoring,
analysis, tracking, as well as provide communication strategy
recommendation that we refer to as SPICE [Strategic Public Information
and Communication Enhancement]. Sentic computing techniques turned out
to be key in enhancing SPICE performance for tasks such as fine-grained
opinion mining and sentiment analysis, influencer network analysis,
insight analysis, and social media based psychographic analysis".
(x) TrustPilot Technology: A developer at TrustPilot
said: "I participated to WWW13 Conference to attend Dr Cambria's
tutorial on Sentic Computing. We are now using SenticNet as one of the
means to enhance TrustPilot technology. Sentic Computing is taking us
much further than any other machine learning technique we have applied
Sentic Computing tools are freely available for download and use through
the Sentic API at sentic.net. The Sentic API is being used by a
continuously growing number of researchers and companies world-wide:
sentic.net was visited 600,000+ times from Oct 2012 to June 2013
(statistics available upon request from iPage.)
Sources to corroborate the impact
Commercialization points of contact:
- CEO of Sitekit Solutions Ltd. (Portree, UK) and CEO of Abies Ltd.
(Berkshire, UK) — for development of Sentic PROMs (Aug 2011 - Mar 2012),
collaboration within a project funded by the UK Technology Strategy
Board (TSB Grant Reference: 12074-75246).
- Business Development Manager at Zoral Labs — for Sentic Net based
sentiment transactions system (SENTRA).
- Senior Researcher at Web Access and Interaction Group, HP Labs India
(Bangalore, India), within the Innovations for the Next Billion
Customers Initiative, for development of Sentic Album, Sentic Corner,
and Sentic Chat (Jun — Oct 2010).
- CEO Patient Opinion Ltd (Sheffield, UK) — for Sentic computing based
automatic analysis of patient opinions (Mar 2011 - Mar 2012).
- Head of Web Search and Data Mining Group, Microsoft Research Asia
(Beijing, China) — as part of the ProBase Project, for exploitation of
Sentic computing techniques to knowledge representation and reasoning
with ProBase (Feb - Jul 2011).
- Director of the Brain Sciences Foundation, Director of MIT Mind
Machine Project and MIT Synthetic Intelligence Project — for
exploitation of Sentic computing to develop brain-inspired cognitive
- Principal Investigator at A*STAR Institute of High Performance
- Developer at TrustPilot.
Sentiment polarity detection demonstration: http://sentic.net/demo