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Keynote Lecture - Prof. Victor Raskin

Last modified 2015-07-12 11:23

Computing the Context at the End of the Non-Semantic Era
Prof. Victor Raskin
Distinguished Professor of English and Linguistics and Professor of Computer Science and of Computer and Information Technology (Courtesy);
Co-Founder, Associate Director, and Charter Fellow of Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS);
Purdue University, Indiana, USA

Date & Time: July 27 (Monday), 2015; 08:45am - 09:35am
Location: Monte Carlo (Blue Man Group) Theater


    As the reality of the highly limited extent, to which statistics can replace knowledge in computational information processing sets in and infantile naivete about natural language wears out, the need to compute meaning becomes clear. This acute need will necessarily squeeze out the notorious fear of semantics, and the leaders of machine learning are already into the ontologization and semanticalization of their work. It is being discovered that semantics is a technology that can be learned and that its resources are accessible to professionals and easily and affordably propagated.

    In this newly promising environment, putting a long-overdue end to a bizarre and highly brittle situation when data and language processing has been attempted for 3 decades without understanding them, the notion of context remains perhaps the last vestige of apprehensions about semantics expressed in such statements as, “Oh, it all depends on the context,” meaning that we are not going there, that contextual cognition is not computable. This address directly challenges this defeatist approach to cognition and its computation.

    If an ontological semantic technology allows us to represent meaning in a way that emulates human understanding, contextual meaning augments that understanding by relating it to additional representations of what the processor, human or computer, knows prior to any act of representation. Humans or computers may possess different amounts of relevant information, and the understanding varies from minimum to an almost unlimited maximum (as between Dr. Watson’s generic and Sherlock Holmes phenomenally rich and specific backround) but it is fully controllable by the developer/designer of any computational system, thus making it easier to deal with than with the individual background of a new human acquaintance.

    The address will illustrate this with specific examples and proclaim the importance and accessibility of computational context for virtually any application of some complexity.


    Victor Raskin earned all of his degrees in Structural, Computational and Mathematical Linguistics from Moscow State University, now Moscow Lomonosov University (Ph.D., 1970; M.A./M.S., 1966, B.A./B.S., 1964), in Moscow, formerly USSR, with minors in mathematical logic, computer science, and cognitive psychology. He taught in his alma mater in 1966-1973, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (full time) and Tel Aviv University (part time) in 1973-78, University of Michigan (Spring 1978), and Purdue University (since Fall 1978), where he is now Distinguished Professor of English and Linguistics; Professor of Computer Science and of Computer and Information Technology (both courtesy); Co-Founder, Associate Director, and Charter Fellow, Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS); Founder and Coordinator, Natural Language Processing Laboratory. He has published 18 books and over 250 papers on natural language semantics and its applications to linguistic engineering, natural language and information processing, computational humor/social computing, natural language information assurance security, and—most recently—robotic intelligence and communication. With Dr. Taylor, he taught a WorldComp tutorial on Ontological Semantic Technology in 2012-14, and he delivered a keynote address at WorldComp 2013 and several other venues. The founding Editor-in-Chief of Humor: International Journal of Humor Research (1987-99) and the first elected academic President of the International Society of Humor Studies (2000), he also co-chaired the first AAAI Fall 2012 Symposium on Artificial Intelligence of Humor.

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