Question Answering Using Text-to-Text Generation: When Information Comes from Multilingual Sources
Speaker: Kathleen McKeown , Columbia UniversityContact:
Date: April 15 2008
Time: 3:30PM to 4:30PM
Location: 32-G449 Stata Center - Patil/Kiva Conference Room
Host: Regina Barzilay, MIT CSAIL
Marcia Davidson, 617-253-3049, email@example.comRelevant URL:
The past five years have seen the emergence of robust, scalable natural language processing systems that can summarize and answer questions about online material. One key to the success of such systems is that they re-use text that appeared in the documents rather than generating new sentences from scratch. Re-using text is absolutely essential for the development of robust systems; full semantic interpretation of unrestricted text is beyond the state of the art. Better summaries and answers can be produced, however, if systems can generate new sentences from the input text, fusing relevant phrases and discarding irrelevant ones. When the underlying sources for question answering come from multiple languages, the need for text-to-text generation is even more pronounced.
This talk will present research on question-answering over a variety of sources, including news, broadcast news, talks shows and blogs. Our research combines approaches from summarization and information extraction to answer open-ended questions. Because our sources include informal genres as well as formal genres and draw from English, Arabic and Chinese, text-to-text generation is critical for improving the intelligibility of responses. In this talk I will describe how we exploit information available at question answering time to edit sentences, removing redundant and irrelevant information and correcting errors in translated sentences.
Kathleen R. McKeown is the Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. She served as Department Chair from 1998-2003. 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. She is currently serving as General Conference Chair for ACL08: HLT.
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