Title: Natural Language Applications Across Genres: From News to Novels Speaker: Kathleen McKeown (Columbia) Time: 2:15pm-3:30pm, Friday, Nov 18 Place: Room 4102, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave (34str&35str). Natural Language Applications Across Genres: From News to Novels Kathleen McKeown Department of Computer Science Columbia University New York, NY 10027 Much research in the natural language field has been carried out on news and there is a need for applications in this genre. In earlier work, we developed a robust news summarization system, called Newsblaster, that provides a browsing interface to news on the web. We extended this research, developing techniques for generating responses to open-ended question answering, enabling the generation of a biography of a queried person or a description of an event. While these news applications were difficult and raised many research challenges, we began working with weblogs and multilingual input as well. In this talk, I will discuss the issues that arise when summarization and question answering systems must handle noisy input. I will also show how the need for new applications arise for new genres and touch on research that we are currently doing on identifying persuasion on weblogs. Finally, I will turn to our most recent research, where we have moved to a yet more difficult genre, the novel, and discuss how we can use natural language technology to investigate theories that have been proposed in comparative literature. Kathleen R. McKeown is the Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University and she also serves as the Vice Dean for Research in the School of Engineering Research and Applied Science. She served as Department Chair from 1998-2003. Her research interests include text summarization, natural language generation, multi-media explanation, digital libraries, concept to speech generation and natural language interfaces. McKeown received the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 and has been at Columbia since then. In 1985 she received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, in 1991 she received a National Science Foundation Faculty Award for Women, in 1994 she was selected as a AAAI Fellow, and in 2003 she was elected as an ACM Fellow. In 2010, she received the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award in Innovation. McKeown has also quite active nationally. She served as a board member of the Computing Research Association and as secretary of the board. She served as President of the Association of Computational Linguistics in 1992, Vice President in 1991, and Secretary Treasurer for 1995-1997. She served as Conference Chair of ACL:HLT08.