Shutterstock Distinguished Lecture focuses on Natural Language Processing with Noah Smith

An incredibly charismatic individual, Professor Smith who encouraged questions and interruptions at any point, introduced the topic of his lecture: Natural Language Processing. “What this means…” as he went on to explain “is how fluidly a computer communicates to a human speaker in a given language” essentially meaning how an A.I. or intelligent computer program can effectively communicate in a casual conversation with someone like you or me. He transitioned from this introduction into the nitty gritty of his research, introducing his team’s unique language processing model as well as outlining the parameters for his research.

Smith ended his presentation on a humorous note by gifting the audience with an example of his team’s language processing software’s attempt at aiding creative writers in their processes. With that final point he turned the remaining time over to questions from some of the audience, an equal mix between inquisitive students and curious professors. By far the most standout questions came from one of the professors who asked if this type of software could be applied towards music which sparked a quick debate over the intricacies of such a type of research. With his time to formally speak coming to an end, attendees happily followed him to a reception celebrating his visit, thus ending the third talk in the 2017-2018 series.

About the presenter:

Professor Noah Smith is a faculty member at the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science since 2015 and a former faculty member at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science from 2006-2015. Professor Smith is widely regarded as a leading researcher in the field of natural language processing, receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins in 2006 as well as his B.S. and B.A. in Computer Science and Linguistics, respectively, from the University of Maryland in 2001.        

        -Juan Tamayo

        -Gary Ghayrat, photo credit