Martha Palmer
Thu 04 Aug 2016, 11:00 - 12:30
Informatics Forum (IF-4.31/4.33)

If you have a question about this talk, please contact: Diana Dalla Costa (ddallac)


This talk will provide an overview of a new DARPA program focused on Communicating with Computers, CwC.  One of the applications in CwC is a Blocks World domain, where the actions are very simple and concrete, such as “Add a block to the tower.”  However, even in this restricted world, getting the appropriate contextual interpretation of a sentence can be challenging.  The talk will review the progress we have made so far on achieving the goal of contextual interpretation.  This requires the bringing to bear of many resources, including James Allen’s TRIPS ontology and parser, Jerry Hobbs’s axiomatization of many object and action definitions, James Pustejovsky’s Generative Lexicon (GL), and VerbNet (VN).  A main focus of the talk will be the ways in which we are modifying VerbNet to more closely align with Generative Lexicon Event Structure representations, to produce GL—VN.  Working with Julia Hockenmaier, we are also synchronizing these VerbNet with the lexical entries of a Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) semantic parser so that it produces the appropriate sentence representations, including implicit arguments, for the Blocks World domain.  This CCG/VN semantic parser approach will also be described. The talk will conclude with both short term and long term goals for our collaborations on CwC, with respect to  both GL-VN and CCG-VN.


Prof. Martha Palmer holds joint appointments in Linguistics and Computer Science departments at the University of Colorado, and directed the international Linguistic Institute 2011. She is an ACL Fellow. Her research has focused on capturing elements of the meanings of words that can comprise automatic representations of complex sentences and documents. To support supervised machine-learning techniques, she and her students produce annotations and are engaged in training automatic sense taggers and semantic role labelers, funded by NSF and DARPA. Recently, with NIH funding, they applied these methods to biomedical journal articles and clinical notes.   She is an editor of Linguistic Issues in Language Technology, and has been on the Editorial Board of Computational Linguistics and a co-Editor of the Journal of Natural Language Engineering.