Event Information

  • Date: Friday, March 25, 2011
  • Schedule:
    • 10:00am: Coffee
    • 10:30am: Distinguished talk by Professor Kathleen McKeown: “Natural Language Applications Across Genres: From News to Novels” (public event)
    • Advisory board meeting led by Dr. Judith Klavans will follow (by invitation)
  • Location: Graduate Student Lounge, 126 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ, 08901. (Map; Directly behind Au Bon Pain)

Distinguished Talk

Title: Natural Language Applications Across Genres: From News to Novels

Abstract: Much research in the natural language field has been carried out on news and there is a need for applications in this genre. In earlier work, we developed a robust news summarization system, called Newsblaster, that provides a browsing interface to news on the web. We extended this research, developing techniques for generating responses to open-ended question answering, enabling the generation of a biography of a queried person or a description of an event. While these news applications were difficult and raised many research chalenges, we began working with weblogs and multilingual input as well. In this talk, I will discuss the issues that arise when summarization and question answering systems must handle noisy input. I will also show how the need for new applications arise for new genres and touch on research that we are currently doing on identifying persuasion on weblogs. Finally, I will turn to our most recent research, where we have moved to a yet more difficult genre, the novel, and discuss how we can use natural language technology to investigate theories that have been proposed in comparative literature.

kathleenmckeownDistinguished Speaker: Kathleen McKeown, Columbia University

Kathleen R. McKeown is the Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. She served as Department Chair from 1998-2003 and currently serves as Vice Dean for Research in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Her research interests include text summarization, natural language generation, multi-media explanation, digital libraries, concept to speech generation and natural language interfaces. McKeown received the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 and has been at Columbia since then. In 1985 she received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, in 1991 she received a National Science Foundation Faculty Award for Women, in 1994 she was selected as a AAAI Fellow, and in 2003 she was elected as an ACM Fellow. In 2010, she received the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award in Innovation. McKeown is also quite active nationally. She served as a board member of the Computing Research Association and as secretary of the board. She served as President of the Association of Computational Linguistics in 1992, Vice President in 1991, and Secretary Treasurer for 1995-1997. She served as Conference Chair of ACL:HLT08.

judith klavansBoard Members Panel Chair: Judith Klavans, University of Maryland College Park

Judith Klavans is Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. Her research interests include text-mining, machine translation, text-to-speech, health informatics and language standards for interoperability. She was the founder of the Columbia University Center of Research on Information Access, as well as the Research Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland, College Park. Klavans has served on the President’s Information Technology Advisory Board, and has been involved in language technology research, policy and strategy in government and academia.

Distinguished Talk: Pictures and Video