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Syn/Sem Discussion: Presentation by Marisa Boston

Friday, October 26, 2012
12:00 AM

Come learn about the syntax and semantics of the Jeopardy! winning computer WatsonMD

This week in the Syn/Sem Discussion Group, we will have a presentation by Marisa Boston, a recent Cornell Linguistics PhD, and now Senior Research Engineer in Natural Language Processing a Nuance Communications.

Syntax and semantics in WatsonMD

The super-computer Watson made headlines when it outperformed the reigning Jeopardy! champions in 2011.  The Jeopardy! game-show represents a particularly challenging problem to artificial intelligence, and question-answering in particular, because it is open-domain: questions and answers come from a wide variety of topics, and systems require inference to make connections between often disparate topics.  To do this, Watson goes beyond simple bag-of-words techniques to provide deeper syntactic and semantic analysis of questions and answers.  
While the Jeopardy!-winning Watson represents an incredible feat in artificial intelligence, it has only begun to address the challenges of making question-answering systems practical problem-solving tools within and across domains.  This talk describes how Nuance and IBM are extending the Watson technology to create a medical question-answering tool for doctors.  In particular, I address the syntactic and semantic challenges we face as we make the transition from Watson to WatsonMD.