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July 22-25, 2013
The 2013 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing

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WORLDCOMP'13 Keynote Lecture - Prof. Victor Raskin

Last modified 2013-07-07 17:55

Accessing and Computing Meaning
Prof. Victor Raskin
Distinguished Professor
Purdue University
Indiana, USA

Date: July 22, 2013
Time: 08:50 - 09:45am
Location: Tropicana Theater


    As the fear of semantics is declining, let’s formalize the unformalizable! The address is focusing on the feasibility and necessity of accessing directly the comprehensive meaning of natural language texts, data, images, etc., to emulate human understanding by the computer. It is based on the premise that, without such understanding, no real-life application can reach the precision that human users of computational systems require. Moreover, meaning access and processing goes well beyond natural language applications, even as the scope of those keeps growing.

    The main obstacle for this seemingly reasonable goal is the widespread prejudice against meaning as unknowable in principle because it is “subjective,” context-sensitive, complex, messy, etc. This has not been our experience, and it is worth talking, both practically and theoretically, about the know-how that a research group should acquire to approach the processing tasks semantically. A convincing case can be made for the feasibility and affordability of the approach as well, especially in the light of our planning to make our resources Open Source, a plan that may be followed by other computational semanticists. It is hoped, therefore, that this address will further reduce the fear of, and prejudice against semantics.


    Dr. Victor Raskin (Ph.D. in Mathematical, Structural, and Computational Linguistics, with a CS minor, 1970, Moscow State University, Moscow, then USSR) is Distinguished Professor of English and Linguistics, and also Professor of Computer Science as well as of Computer and Information Technology (the latter two by courtesy) at Purdue University. Prof. Raskin founded the Interdepartmental Program in Linguistics at Purdue and chaired it in 1979-99. He also founded the Natural Language Processing (NLP) Laboratory at Purdue in 1986 and has coordinated it ever since. Together with Dr. Sergei Nirenburg, his former Ph.D. advisee at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Raskin developed a ground-breaking ontological semantic approach to NLP that, for the first time, aspires to near-human comprehensive semantic capabilities for NLP systems and thus ensures their higher accuracy. He has been the PI, co-PI for a large number of computational grants in academia as well as a PI-level consultant for commercial projects in industry since 1966 in his native Russia, Israel, and USA. Dr. Raskin has served on the CERIAS Internal Advisory Board since its inception, and he is currently CERIAS’ Associate Director and Charter Fellow. He co-founded the Purdue Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Information Security in 2002 and has been its Associate Director and Faculty Advisor since. Dr. Raskin has published 17 books and well over 200 articles on natural language processing/computational semantics, linguistic and semantic theory, philosophy of language and science, and various applications of linguistics and computational linguistics to adjacent areas, including information security and robotic intelligence. As a testing ground for his theoretical and computational semantic school, he founded the linguistics of humor in the late 1970s, founded and edited its flagship journal, and has trained a number of leading scholars in the field. He has organized a number of tutorials, workshops and special sessions at international conferences—most recently, with Dr. Julia M. Taylor, the AAAI 2012 Fall Symposium on “Artificial Intelligence of Humor.” He has also organized national and international conferences and served on a number of program committees and editorial boards. He has received a number of awards as well as delivering numerous invited lectures at various universities on 3 continents. As it gloriously survives attacks of fraudulent and malicious slander, Dr. Raskin is proud of supporting WorldCom as an important venue for scientific and technological progress.

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