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Seminar: Deep Contextual Modeling for Natural Language Understanding, Generation, and Grounding

Rui Zhang

PhD Candidate, Yale University

Thurdsay, March 19, 2020
9:30am - 10:30am
Zoom Only


Natural language is a fundamental form of information and communication. In both human-human and human-computer communication, people reason about the context of text and world state to understand language and produce language response. In this talk, I present several deep neural network based systems that first understand the meaning of language grounded in various contexts where the language is used, and then generate effective language responses in different forms for information access and human-computer communication. First, I will introduce Speaker Interaction RNNs for addressee and response selection in multi-party conversations based on explicit representations for different discourse participants. Then, I will present a text summarization approach for generating email subject lines by optimizing quality scores in a reinforcement learning framework. Finally, I will show an editing-based multi-turn SQL query generation system towards intelligent natural language interfaces to databases.


Rui Zhang is a final year Ph.D. student at Yale University advised by Professor Dragomir Radev. His research interest lies in various natural language processing problems in understanding, generation, and grounding. He has been working on (1) End-to-End Neural Modeling for Entities, Sentences, Documents, and Multi-party Multi-turn Dialogues, (2) Text Summarization for Emails, News, and Scientific Articles, (3) Cross-lingual Information Retrieval for Low-Resource Languages, (4) Context-Dependent Text-to-SQL Semantic Parsing in Human-Computer Interaction. Rui Zhang has published papers and served as Program Committee members at top-tier NLP and AI conferences including ACL, NAACL, EMNLP, AAAI, CoNLL. During his Ph.D., He has done research internships at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Grammarly Research, and Google AI. He was a graduate student at the University of Michigan and got his bachelor degrees at both the University of Michigan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University from the UM-SJTU Joint Institute.