Title: Language Translation and Code-Breaking
Speaker: Kevin Knight
Abstract: In 1949, information theorist Warren Weaver suggested applying code-breaking methods to the problem of automatic language translation. He said: “When I look at an article in Russian, I say: this is really written in English, but it has been coded in some strange symbols. I will now proceed to decode”. Weaver’s inspiration has borne fruit in this century, as statistical techniques have enabled us to build translation systems for many languages, with increasing accuracy. But other fruitful connections between code-breaking and translation are only starting to emerge. We will examine some, including the decipherment of historical manuscripts and the extraction of bilingual dictionaries from untranslated texts.
Bio: Kevin Knight is a Fellow at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California (USC), and a Professor in USC’s Computer Science Department. He received a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. His research interests such as forex include natural language processing, automata theory, machine translation, and decipherment. In 2011, he served as President of the Association for Computational Linguistics.
Organizers: Percy Liang, Silvio Savarese, David Held