Christoph Tillmann


Christoph Tillmann




Senior Research Staff Member


IBM Research - Yorktown Heights Yorktown Heights, NY USA


I am a Research Staff Member in the Neural Machine Translation (NMT) Group at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and I have been working on algorithms for statistical or neural machine translation for more than 25 years.

During my time as a Ph.D. student and in the following years, my research focused on search algorithms for SMT (in particular dynamic-programming (DP) based algorithms) for word-based and phrase-based machine translation models. Here, I proposed a simple, sequential, block-based segmentation model for phrase-based SMT. That work has resulted in a first successful experiment with a linear model which relies entirely on binary feature functions. In addition, I have been working on beam search algorithms for extracting parallel sentence pairs from comparable data.

More recently, I have been working on the training and the evaluation of multi-lingual large language models as well as on HAP (hate/abuse/profanity) filtering to remove harmful content from text.


  • Native speaker of German. Excellent reading proficiency in Russian, English, and French. Excellent speaking proficiency in English and Russian. Close to native speaker proficiency in Russian (some days).

  • In 1986, I won a third place in a nationwide Russian language studies competition for high-school students, Stuttgart, Germany.

  • In 1991-1992, I have been an exchange student at Leningradskii Gosudarstvennyi Universitet (LGU) , St.Petersburg, Russian Federation with a grant of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) .

  • During my studies in Computer Science from 1991 to 1995, I received a grant from the Cusanuswerk .

  • I like reading, in particular French-language and Russian-language works of fiction (mostly). I also love to read non-fiction about (military) history, philosophy and people's biographies. Occasionally I do photography and more recently, I have been playing (too much) chess online.