Evening Lectures

It is a tradition at ESSLLI to have a number of evening lectures of eminent scholars and researchers of the field who not only reach out to the entire ESSLLI community, but even beyond to the general audience. These evening lectures will be open to the general public and will be widely advertised at the University of Ljubljana and in local newspapers. The evening lectures are supposed to provide a research overview of some parts of our community understandable for everyone.

We are extremely pleased to have attracted four excellent evening lecturers for ESSLLI 2011:

Benedikt Loewe (Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Date and Time: Tuesday, 2nd August @ 7 pm, Peterlinov pavilijon

Title: “Formalization: Transforming the real world into symbols”

Abstract: Logic, mathematics, computer science, and formal linguistics are essentially about formal systems: computer implementations, formal frameworks, impossibility theorems, complexity calculations all require a process of transforming real-world data into formal data. In some parts of science, this process is so deeply entrenched in the professional practice that it is difficult for practitioners to even imagine the real world objects and the formal representations as separate entities. If we move from the exact sciences to the humanities or the social sciences, the gap between the real world and its formal representation becomes wider and more apparent. In this talk, we shall explore the process of formalization, some of the methodological issues involved, and highlight the relevance of understanding formalization as a process for various research areas such as philosophy of mathematics, computational models of narrative understanding, and computational models of social situations.

Mirella Lapata (ILCC, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh)

Date: Thursday, 4th August @ 7 pm, Peterlinov pavilijon

Title: Talk to me in plain English, please! Explorations in Data-driven Text Simplification

Abstract: Recent years have witnessed increased interest in data-driven methods for text rewriting, e.g., the problem of reformulating a query to alternative queries, a document in a simpler style, or a sentence in more concise manner.  In this talk I will focus on text simplification, one of the oldest and best-studied rewriting problems. The popularity of the simplification task stems from its potential relevance to various applications. Examples include the development of reading aids for people with aphasia, non-native speakers and more generally individuals with low literacy. A simplification component could be also used as a preprocessing step to improve the performance of parsers, summarizers and semantic role labelers.

In this talk I will discuss the challenges involved in text simplification and describe recent progress in leveraging large-scale corpora for model training. I will then present a model that simplifies documents automatically based on quasi-synchronous grammar, a formalism that can naturally capture structural mismatches and complex rewrite operations. I will explain how such a grammar can be induced from Wikipedia (and its Simple English variant) and introduce an integer linear programming model for selecting the most appropriate simplification from the space of possible rewrites generated by the grammar. Finally, I will present experimental results on simplifying Wikipedia articles showing that this approach significantly reduces reading difficulty, while producing grammatical and meaningful output.

See at VideoLectures.NET

Bart Geurts (Department of Philosophy, University of Nijmegen)

Date: Tuesday, 9th August @ 7 pm, Peterlinov pavilijon

Title: Quantity implicatures: a tendentious survey

Abstract: The paradigm example of a quantity implicature is the inference from “some” to “not all”, as in:

Some bankers are crooks ~> Not all bankers are crooks.

In recent years, quantity implicatures have received a lot of attention not only from philosophers and linguists, but from experimentalists, too, and the number of theoretical analyses has increased in proportion. In this talk, I will give an overview of the main strands that have emerged from all this research, with special emphasis on the issue of “embedded implicatures”. I will argue that the extant data still favour the classical analysis inspired by the work of Grice, but I will also show that the Gricean framework will have to be extended so as to account for phenomena below the sentence level.

See at VideoLectures.NET

Dunja Mladenic (J. Stefan Institute, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory)

Date: Thursday, 11th August @ 7 pm, Peterlinov pavilijon

Title: Representing Text – from characters to logic

Abstract:  People use natural languge and write texts to express themselves. For the purpose of text processing, text can be represented in different ways ranging from simply characters to capturing knowledge from the text in a form of logic. One of the key properties of natural languages is redundancy in the encoded information and the structure used. As a consequence, different techniques can extract different aspects of information from text. They range from simple techniques, such as character counting, to more sophisticated, such as linear algebra, to the advanced techniques which exploit the structural aspects of text. Many of these techniques deliver something useful and solve somebody’s problem. Examples of such problems are: language identification (solved with character counting), document categorization (solved with linear algebra methods), question-answering (solved typically with shallow linguistic methods), and reasoning (solved typically using logic). The talk will present different text representations from the view of automatic tex tprocessing. In the second half of the talk we will take a look at some research results based on using machine learning methods and we will see demos of the corresponding prototype systems.

See at VideoLectures.NET

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