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Inference in Natural Language Processing (talk recording available)
Dr. Jerry Hobbs
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 01:00pm - 02:00pm
University of Southern California, Information Sciences Institute
We understand natural language discourse so well because we know so much. We are able to draw the inferences necessary to tie the various parts of a discourse together, and how we do this is perhaps the central problem in natural language understanding. In this talk, I will first show that many representational problems can be bypassed by reifying states and events, resulting in a very simple picture of compositional semantics. Then I will show how abduction, or finding the best explanation for the content of a text, solves a wide range of pragmatics problems, including coreference resolution, the interpretation of metonymy and metaphor, and discovering discourse structure. Finally, I will discuss an effort to build an adequate knowledge base for natural language understanding, by both manual and automatic means, in two areas -- the structure of events and goal-directed behavior.