Posts Tagged ‘natural language processing’

Many of us have been following the extraordinary events of last week as the IBM computer, Watson, defeated the two greatest human Jeopardy champions in three matches.  This milestone in artificial intelligence will go down in history along with Deep Blue’s defeat of Garry Kasparov in chess over a decade ago.

It took a decade to make the leap from dominating chess to a game like Jeopardy because of the challenges in understanding the ambiguity of human language.  The field focused on overcoming these challenges is called Natural Language Processing and it is an area of focus for UT Dallas and of several area companies.

Natural Language Processing in turn is closely related to Computational Linguistics.  Dr. Vincent Ng has presented to the Metroplex Math Circle before on Statistical Natural Language Processing and Computational Linguistics.  UT Dallas and Dr. Ng also host the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) which is used to select the team that represents the US at the International Linguistics Olympiad.

The winners of these contests are often those who do well in math problem solving contests and attend programs like the Metroplex Math Circle.  So if you would like to be a part of the next exciting milestone in artificial intelligence, come to Metroplex Math Circle and learn the skills that will help you “serve our computer overlords.”  🙂


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Dr. Ng gave a terrific talk on the field of natural language processing which combines many disciplines to address pressing problems.  He also introduced many of our students to the problems they will encounter on the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad being held at UTD.

To help participants prepare for NACLO, Dr. Ng will host a problem session this Sunday to go over selected NACLO problems. Here are the date and location of the problem session:

Date and Time: Sunday, Jan 25, 2-5 PM
Location: Room 2.201, Engineering and Computer Science South Building, University of Texas at Dallas

You may also get updated information about the local NACLO competition, as well as additional sample NACLO problems from Dr. Ng’s website: http://www.hlt.utdallas.edu/~vince/naclo

Dr. Ng has provided his slides from the lecture.  Members of the Metroplex Math Circle e-mail group can download these files from the group site. To join the e-mail group simply click below.

Click to join MetroplexMathCircle

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Please come join us for the first Metroplex Math Circle of 2009.  On January 17 we will have Dr. Vincent Ng from UT Dallas talk to us about an exciting new field of applied mathematics as well as a new Olympiad with national and international competitions.

Statistical Natural Language Processing and the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

People have long believed that technology will eventually produce a machine that can speak to us. Natural language processing (NLP), one of most fascinating subfields of artificial intelligence, is devoted to enabling computers to use human languages both as input and as output. However, more than fifty years have passed since the inception of artificial intelligence, and we still have not been able to construct such a “talking machine.” In the first part of this talk, we will examine why NLP is so difficult, and take a look at how statistics have revolutionized the way computers understand human languages.

In the second part of the talk, we will give an overview of the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO), an international contest that aims to stimulate high-school students’ interest in natural language processing by having them solve linguistic puzzles. A local contest will be held at the University of Texas at Dallas on February 4, 2009.   Interested high-school students can now register through the NACLO website (www.naclo.cs.cmu.edu).

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