Computer Science

CS Distinguished Lecturer: Dr. Marilyn Walker from UCSC

Walker, Marilyn
When: Tuesday, April 26th at 3pm

Where: 1131 Kemper Hall

Reception with refreshments at 2:30pm


Title: Discovering the Semantic Aspects of Arguments by Mining Online Debates

Abstract: Online forums are now one of the primary venues for public dialogue on current social and political issues. The related corpora are often huge, covering any topic imaginable. Unlike traditional media corpora, online conversation is highly social and subjective and its interpretation and analysis are strongly dependent on context. Phenomena such as sarcasm and rhetorical questions are highly frequent. Our aim is to use these corpora to automatically discover the semantic aspects of arguments that conversants are making across multiple dialogues on a topic, in order to summarize issues and arguments across space and time. We first identify well-formed arguments in unrestricted text and extract many diverse arguments. Then we develop methods for measuring the similarity of argument aspects to identify distinct arguments from among the extracted arguments.

BIO: Marilyn Walker is a Professor of Computer Science and head of the Natural Language and Dialogue Systems Lab in the Baskin School of Engineering at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). She received her Ph.D. in 1993 in Computer Science from University of Pennsylvania. From 1996 to 2003, she was a Principal Member of Research Staff in the Speech and Information Processing Lab at AT&T Bell Labs and AT&T Research, where she developed a new architecture for spoken dialogue systems and statistical methods for dialogue management and generation. From 2003 to 2009, she was a Professor of Computer Science at University of Sheffield where she was a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Fellow, recruited to the U.K. under Britain’s “Brain Gain” program. She was a member of the founding board for the North American ACL, serving to set up and orchestrate its first conference between 1998 and 2001. She has served the ACL community as an ACL program chair, reviewer for dozens of conferences, and as senior area chair, and organized many workshops. She was also the program co-chair and local organizer of the Intelligent Virtual Agents conference held at UCSC in 2012. She has supervised 16 doctoral students and 30 undergraduate researchers. She has published over 200 papers, and has 10 granted U.S. patents. Her H-index, a measure of research impact and excellence is 51.

Professor Marilyn Walker
Natural Language and Dialogue Systems Lab
Professor of Computer Science and Computational Media
Baskin School of Engineering
University of California Santa Cruz

1131 Kemper Hall

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