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Talking to your Virtual Assistant about anything by Jonathan Berant (DSI Learning Club)
May 3, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm IDT
On Thursday, May 3rd, we are hosting Jonathan Berant from TAU.
Title: Talking to your Virtual Assistant about anything
When: May 3rd, Thu 10:15. Light refreshments at 10:00.
Where: Gonda Building 901, Room 101
Abstract: Conversational interfaces and virtual assistants are now part of our lives due to services such as Amazon Alexa, Google Voice, Microsoft Cortana, etc. Thus, translating natural language queries and commands into an executable form, also known as semantic parsing, is one of the prime challenges nowadays in natural language understanding. In this talk, I would like to highlight the main challenges and limitations in the field of semantic parsing, and to describe ongoing work that addresses those challenges. First, semantic parsers require information to be stored in a knowledge-base, which substantially limits their coverage and applicability. Conversely, the web has huge coverage but search engines that access the web do not handle well language compositionality. We propose to treat the web as a KB and compute answers to complex questions in broad domains by decomposing the question into a sequence of simple questions, extract answers with a search engine, and recompose the answers to obtain a final result. Second, deploying virtual assistants in many domains (cars, homes, calendar, etc.) requires the ability to quickly develop semantic parsers. However, most past work trains semantic parsers from scratch for any domain, while disregarding training data from other domains. We propose a zero-shot approach for semantic parsing, where we decouple the structure of language from the contents of the domain and learn a domain-independent semantic parser.
Bio: Dr. Jonathan Berant is a senior lecturer in The School of Computer Science since October 2016 working on various natural language understanding problems. Jonathan got his PhD from Tel-Aviv University in 2012 and has been a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford’s Computer Science Department from 2012 to 2015. Jonathan was also a post-doctoral fellow at Google Research from 2015 to 2016. Jonathan was an Azrieli fellow and an IBM fellow during his graduate studies and a Rothschild fellow during his post-doctoral period. His work has been recognized by a best paper award (authored by a student) in ACL 2011, a best paper award in EMNLP 2014, and also best paper nominations in ACL 2013 and ACL 2014. Since being appointed as senior lecturer at Tel-Aviv University he has won grants from the ISF (2016), BSF (2017), and Samsung runway project (2017).