HKUST's ideal research environment is situated in beautiful Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong.

HLTC Special Seminar Series

Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering

Human Language Technology Center

Learning for Semantic Parsing and Natural Language Generation Using Statistical Machine Translation

Yuk Wah WONG
University of Texas at Austin

Date :     17 September 2007 (Monday)
Time :     16:00-17:00
Venue :   LTF (Leung Yat Sing Lecture Theatre, Lifts 25-26)


One of the main goals of natural language processing (NLP) is to build automated systems that can understand and generate human languages. This goal has so far remained elusive. Existing hand-crafted systems can provide in-depth analysis of domain sub-languages, but are often notoriously fragile and costly to build. Existing machine-learned systems are considerably more robust, but are limited to relatively shallow NLP tasks.

In this talk, we present novel statistical methods for robust natural language understanding and generation. We focus on two important sub-tasks, semantic parsing and tactical generation. The key idea is that both tasks can be treated as the translation between natural languages and formal meaning representation languages, and therefore, can be performed using state-of-the-art statistical machine translation techniques. Specifically, we employ synchronous parsing, which has been extensively used in syntax-based machine translation, as the unifying framework for semantic parsing and tactical generation. The parsing and generation algorithms learn all of their linguistic knowledge from annotated corpora, and can handle natural-language sentences that are conceptually complex. Experimental results in two real-world, restricted domains show that the algorithms are more robust and accurate than the currently best systems that require similar supervision. Unlike previous systems that require manually-constructed grammars and lexicons, our systems require much less knowledge engineering and can be easily ported to other languages and domains.


Yuk Wah Wong has recently received his Ph.D. in Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. His advisor is Prof. Raymond J. Mooney. He received his M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003, and his B.Sc. from the University of Hong Kong in 2001. His research interests include natural language understanding and generation, machine translation, and information extraction. He has been honored with the Best Paper Award at the ACL-2007 conference in Prague for his work on semantic parsing.

*** All are Welcome ***

For enquiries, please call 2358-7008 or visit our website at

Human Language Technology Center
The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
HKUST, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong
+852 2358-8831
Last updated: 2007.09.01 Dekai Wu