13 Mar 2018

In our lab meeting this week, Varada Kolhatkar from linguistics department will join us and talk about Understanding Discourse From Resolving Complex Anaphora to Identifying Constructive News Comments. Here is the title and abstract of her talk:

Title: Understanding Discourse: From Resolving Complex Anaphora to Identifying Constructive News Comments

Abstract: Recently, computational linguists have been increasingly interested in understanding discourse. This talk focuses on two prominent issues related to understanding discourse structure: (a) resolving complex cases of anaphora which depends on understanding how discourse is constructed and maintained, and (b) identifying constructive reader comments which requires the analysis of discourse at the pragmatic level.

The goal of the first project is to develop computational methods for tackling cases of anaphora where the antecedents are typically of a non-nominal syntactic form and the referents typically represent proposition-like entities, as shown in example (1). This research is guided by two primary questions: first, how an automated process can determine the interpretation of such expressions, and second, to what extent the knowledge derived from the linguistics literature can help in this process.

(1) Living expenses are much lower in rural India than in New York, but this fact is not fully captured if prices are converted with currency exchange rates.

The goal of the second project is to encourage constructive discussion online. In particular, I will talk about identifying constructive news comments. This research is guided by three questions: a) what characteristics make a reader comment constructive, b) how can an automated process determine constructive language in news comments and c) how do constructiveness and toxicity interact in online language. The methods which are being developed can assist in moderation tasks, typically performed by humans, such as promoting constructive comments and summarizing reader comments.

Wednesday, March 14th, 10-11 AM, Location: TASC1 9408.