Engineering Experts

Vanessa Lopez

Research Engineer
IBM Research


Envisioning and developing innovative solutions for harnessing urban and web data as knowledge, through a combination of natural language, semantics / Linked Data and learning approaches to capture, integrate, enrich, search, explore and query data in a natural way. In particular, delivering technology demostrators and cognitive capabilities for care management and urban data platforms for: Cognitive analytics for patient-centric care: to support care professionals in capturing and interpreting the right information about an individual to take better informed decisions, based on structured and unstructured health records, as well as external open data and knowledge graphs. By continuosly learning from the actual practise of care professionals based on this holistic semantic-picture, the system can present ranked highlights extracted from patients' case notes, identify missing information and / or actionable insights to ultimately obtain better outcomes for citizens (Projects: Notes Highlights for WCM, Cognitive Care Mentor) Contextual search and QA: combine semantics and business rules to model the needs of individuals across the clinical and social care dimensions (e.g, conditions, symptoms, activities of daily living, care providers, safety net, etc.) and supporting users in querying and exploring information. In particular by answering user queries pose in natural language that require aggregating data across heterogeneous knowledge records and Web of Data sources (Projects: BlueLENS, QuerioDALI, Link2Outcome) Urban data management: semantic lifting and integration of tabular data and metadata coming from cities into knowledge graphs, as well as providing novel contextual & retrieval services on top for: spatial and semantic search, thematic exploration and linking data into multiple views, by making semantic connections across entities in different data sources explicit, in response to user needs (Projects: DALI, QuerioCity). Before IBM, I was a research associate and a part-time PhD at KMi, Open University, where I was the project champion and main developer of AquaLog and PowerAqua, pioneering prototypes for Natural Language interfaces for the Semantic Web / Linked Data, published in in major international journals and conferences. EU projects I was working on include Dot.Kom, AKT, OpenKnowledge, X-Media, SmartProducts and RADAR, on the topics of IR, query disambiguation, ontology augmentation and semantic search. Prior to that I worked at the European Space Agency (ESA) and graduated in 2002 at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), with an intership in the AI department.

Research Interest

My research interests are to investigate how technology can be made “smarter” to better understand human needs and to support us, as a society, to target complex problems. In particular, using knowledge graphs to support data integration and contextual search, applied to the Smart Cities and Care Coordination (Social and Health care) domains.


  • Note Highlights: Surfacing Relevant Concepts from Unstructured Notes for Health Professionals Vanessa Lopez, Joao Betterncourt-Silva, Grace Mccarthy, Spyros Kotoulas, Natasha Mulligan, Fabrizio Cucci, Stephane Deparis, Marco Luca Sbodio, Pierpaolo Tommasi, John Segrave-Daly, Conor Cullen, Ciaran Hennessy, Beth Mckeon, Nagesh Yadav, Karie Kelly, Rus ICHI, 2017

  • Core Techniques of Question Answering Systems over Knowledge Bases: a Survey Dennis Diefenbach, Vanessa Lopez, Kamal Singh, Pierre Maret Knowledge and Information Systems, KAIS , 2017

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