An Invitation to Natural Language Technologies

Wednesday, May 1, 2002 - 17:30
TH 331
Violetta Cavalli-Sforza San Francisco State University

Natural language is part of our every day existence and is becoming more and more a part of our computational environment. The understanding and production of written or spoken language has been said to be an AI complete problem, meaning that all aspects of artificial intelligence must be brought to bear in order for computers to be able to handle this foremost expression of human intelligence.

Natural language processing is a field with a long history in Computer Science, one that has become progressively more interdisciplinary and has seen the rise and fall and renewal of different approaches. In this talk I will survey a number of areas in natural language technologies, starting from the traditional areas of parsing, generation, translation, dialogue management, speech generation and synthesis, and moving into the newer areas of informational retrieval, information extraction, topic detection and tracking, and open domain question answering. The goal is to give the audience a broad overview of the field of language technologies and to entice some students to take the Natural Language Technologies course offered in Fall 2002. This course is currently advertised as CSc890 NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING but is expected to become a paired course CSc620/CSc820 Natural Language Technologies with additional workload for graduate students.


Violetta Cavalli-Sforza is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at San Francisco State University. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering, Infrastructure Planning and Management from Stanford University in 1980, her M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford in 1985, and her Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. She worked at Symantec in the early 1980's, at Digital Equipment Corporation's System Research Center (1985-88), at Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Philosophy (1988-89) and Center for Machine Translation (1994-99), and at Carnegie Technology Education (1999-2000). Her research interests include interlingua- and example-based machine translation, computational morphology (especially of Arabic), and intelligent computer-assisted language learning. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation International Fellowship in Morocco for English-Arabic machine translation.