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).

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.


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.