Artificial Intelligence

Natural Language Understanding with Incidental Supervision

Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 11:00am - 12:00pm PSTiCal
Conf. Rm #1135-1137
This event is open to the public.
AI Seminar
Dan Roth (University of Pennsylvania)


The fundamental issue underlying natural language understanding is that of semantics – there is a need to move toward understanding natural language at an appropriate level of abstraction, beyond the word level, in order to support knowledge extraction, natural language understanding, and communication.

Machine Learning and Inference methods have become ubiquitous in our attempt to induce semantic representations of natural language and support decisions that depend on it. However, learning models that support high level tasks is difficult, partly since most they are very sparse and generating supervision signals for it does not scale. Consequently, making natural language understanding decisions, which typically depend on multiple, interdependent, models, becomes even more challenging.

I will describe some of our research on developing machine learning and inference methods in pursue of understanding natural language text. My focus will be on identifying and using incidental supervision signals in pursuing a range of semantics tasks, and I will point to some of the key challenges as well some possible directions for studying this problem from a principled perspective.     


Dan Roth is the Eduardo D. Glandt Distinguished Professor at the Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania, and a Fellow of the AAAS, the ACM, AAAI, and the ACL.

In 2017 Roth was awarded the John McCarthy Award, the highest award the AI community gives to mid-career AI researchers. Roth was recognized “for major conceptual and theoretical advances in the modeling of natural language understanding, machine learning, and reasoning.”

Roth has published broadly in machine learning, natural language processing, knowledge representation and reasoning, and learning theory, and has developed advanced machine learning based tools for natural language applications that are being used widely. Until February 2017 Roth was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR).

Prof. Roth received his B.A Summa cum laude in Mathematics from the Technion, Israel, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Harvard University in 1995.

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