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Broad Area Colloquium for Artificial Intelligence,
Geometry, Graphics, Robotics and Vision

From grep to graphical models: three decades of finite-state language processing

Fernando Pereira
University of Pennsylvania

Monday, January 28, 2002, 4:15PM
Gates B01


In early 1973, Ken Thompson wrote "grep" at the request of Doug McIlroy, who needed a convenient tool to implement phonetic rules for a speech synthesizer. Almost thirty years later, finite-state methods still dominate practical text and speech processing, and also play a central role in biological sequence analysis. I will discuss several advances in finite-state techniques that have contributed to this remarkable longevity, with particular focus on probabilistic extensions used in speech recognition and information extraction. I will conclude with a brief discussion of whether we are ready to move beyond finite state.

About the Speaker

Fernando Pereira is the Andrew and Debra Rachleff Professor and chair of the department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania. He received a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh in 1982. Before joining Penn, he held industrial research and management positions at SRI International, at AT&T Labs, where he led the machine learning and information retrieval research department from September 1995 to April 2000, and most recently at WhizBang Labs, a Web information extraction company. His main research areas are computational linguistics and machine learning, and he is a main contributor to several advances in finite-state models for speech and text processing in everyday industrial use. He has 73 research publications on computational linguistics, speech recognition, machine learning and logic programming, and several issued and pending patents on speech and language processing, and on human-computer interfaces. He was elected Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence in 1991 for his contributions to computational linguistics and logic programming, and he is a past president of the Association for Computational Linguistics.


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