Friday, February 19, 2010: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 2 (San Diego Convention Center)Spoken language was the first and remains the most pervasive communication and information technology. The invention of writing has quite some time ago extended our ability to communicate to those distant from us in time and space. The recent arrival of computers now provides us with new ways to access and share information encoded in speech or written language. The result is that we are confronted daily with more information than we can focus on or assimilate. Keyword search has provided a simple and surprisingly successful way to access this fire hose of information, but it is a blunt instrument. Currently, researchers are developing algorithms that enable computers to home in better on the information that users really want to find. To illustrate these recent developments, we discuss three aspects. The first contribution concentrates on developments that have a broad application to society as a whole. The two others focus on developments that at least for the moment are more relevant to the scientific community, namely, how language technology can extract information from scientific literature and how computers can be made not only to read texts but also reason about them.
Annie Zaenen, Palo Alto Research Center