Natural Language Processing with a Purpose (And – How Does Pragmatics Help?) – A Lecture by Dr. Barbara Di Eugenio

Date / Time

April 28, 2021

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Abstract: Natural Language Processing (NLP) is an interdisciplinary area of Computer Science whose advances are becoming more and more widespread, as evidenced by  Google Translate or Siri. My focus in NLP is what I call “NLP with a purpose”: technology that has high potential for societal  impact. I will touch on several research projects that run the gamut from  modelling natural interactions between  elderly people and their human helpers to be mimicked in robotic assistants; to developing models of health coaching conversations so as to help patients achieve behavioral change; to designing a conversational interface for visualization of data.  All this work is grounded in pragmatic concepts, such as speech acts,  anaphora and referential expressions.

Speaker: Barbara Di Eugenio is Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Chicago campus. There she leads the NLP  laboratory. She  obtained  her PhD in Computer Science  from the University of Pennsylvania (1993). Dr. Di Eugenio is an NSF CAREER awardee (2002); the 2013 Innovator of the Year award from AWIS Chicago, the local chapter of the Association for Women in Science; and a UIC University Scholar (2018-2020). She was also the recipient of the UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.  Her research has been supported by NSF, ONR, NIH, Motorola, Yahoo!, Politecnico di Torino,  and the Qatar Research Foundation.

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