Seminars and Events

ISI Natural Language Seminar

30 Years of Perplexity

Event Details

Speaker: Kevin Knight, Threeven Labs

Conference Rm Location: ISI-MDR #1135-#1137



If you’re an outside visitor who wishes to attend in person, kindly send a message to nlg DASH seminar DASH host AT at least 1 business day prior with your full name, job title and professional affiliation. Please arrive to ISI at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the seminar. 
If you do not have access to the 11th Floor, please check in at the 10th floor main reception desk to register as a visitor and someone will escort you to the conference room location.

For more information on the NL Seminar series and upcoming talks, please visit:

Hosts: Jonathan May and Justin Cho

NLP scientists have been trying for decades to accurately predict the next word in running text. Why were we so determined to succeed at this strange task? How did we track our successes (and failures)? Why was word prediction at the center of early statistical work in text compression, machine translation, and speech recognition? Will it lead to artificial general intelligence (AGI) in the 2020s? I’ll attempt to answer these questions with anecdotes drawn from three decades of research in NLP, text compression, and code-breaking.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Kevin Knight served on the faculty of the University of Southern California (26 years), as Chief Scientist at Language Weaver, Inc. (9 years), and as Chief Scientist for Natural Language Processing at Didi Global (4 years). He received a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor's degree from Harvard University. Dr. Knight's research interests include machine translation, natural language generation, automata theory, decipherment of historical documents, and number theory. He has co-authored over 150 research papers on natural language processing, as well as the widely adopted textbook "Artificial Intelligence" (McGraw-Hill). Dr. Knight served as President of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) in 2011, as General Chair for ACL in 2005, as General Chair for the North American ACL (NAACL) in 2016, and as co-program chair for the inaugural Asia-Pacific ACL (2020). He received an Outstanding Paper Award at NAACL 2018, and Test-of-Time awards at ACL 2022 and ACL 2023. He is a Fellow of the ACL, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and the USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI).

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