Title: Language Translation and Code-Breaking Speaker: Kevin Knight (USC) Time: 2:15pm-3:30pm, Friday, Feb 17, 2012 Place: Room C197, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave (34str&35str). 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 solution to the Copiale Cipher, a previously-undeciphered manuscript from the 1700s. Bio: Kevin Knight is a Senior Research Scientist and Fellow at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California (USC), and a Research 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 include natural language processing, statistical modeling, machine translation, and decipherment. In 2011, he served as President of the Association for Computational Linguistics.