Phrase Detectives caught me by surprise

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 16.48.42

I got 52% play Phrase Detective on Facebook. How could I get a PhD in Natural Language Processing?

Just kidding, I’m not worrying at all about graduation but just a bit surprised by some features of the game. I’m studying the possibility of running a crowd-sourcing task on coreference resolution so I’m very much interested in how to do crowd-sourcing properly. Please tell me what you think in the┬ácomment section! Continue reading

Notes on machine learning and exceptions

Statistical machine learning has been the de-facto standard in NLP research and practice. However, its very success might be hiding its the problems. One such problem is exceptions.

Natural language is full of exceptions: idiomatic phrases that defy compositionality, irregular verbs and exceptions to grammatical rules, or unexpected events that, though not linguistic phenomena themselves, happen to be communicated via language. So far, statistical NLP has treated them as inconvenient oddity and, in most cases, swept them under the rug, hoping that they wouldn’t reduce F-score.

But a system doesn’t really understand language without handling exceptions and I will argue that (not) handling exceptions has important consequences to machine learning. Continue reading

Knowledge base completion 101

Knowledge base completion (KBC) is not a standard task in natural language processing nor in machine learning. A search on Google scholar results in only over 100 article containing this phrase. Although it is similar to link prediction, “a long-standing challenge in modern information science” (L├╝ & Zhou, 2011), it has received much less attention.

However KBC is potentially an important step towards natural language understanding and recent advances in representation learning have enabled researchers to learn larger datasets with improved precision. Actually, a half of KBC articles were published in or after 2010. Continue reading

Intuition, knowledge base completion and natural language understanding

Everybody has experienced the gut feeling that we “know” something but can’t explain. It might be that a new classmate will be your best friend or there is something wrong in a situation. Human intuition plays an important role in our everyday lives as well as in business, science and technological innovation.

Continue reading

Natural language understanding: Will we ever get there?

When I was in high school in Vietnam, my teachers insisted that the sole goal of high school years is to get us into a good university. As many other Asian countries, there was an extremely competitive national college entrance examination for which girls, boys and their parents would pay any price to win. For two years, my friends and I went to night classes five days a week and spent the summers in classroom. I was accepted to a prestigious university but never used anything I had learnt again.

Continue reading