2010 Fall Colloquium: Ben Bederson

Fall Colloquium presents Professor Ben Bederson on October 11, 2010.

  • Title: The Role of Humans in Computing
  • Date: Monday October 11, 2010
  • Time: 4pm
  • Location: CSIC Building, Room 1115

The fields of natural language processing, computer vision (and artificial intelligence in general) have an important characteristic in common: All seek to automate tasks that humans do naturally so that they can be done more quickly and in greater quantity. Whether it be recognizing the faces of missing children in airports, translating documents between languages, or summarizing the opinions of Iranian blogs, it would be immensely beneficial to society if these problems could be solved quickly, accurately, and cheaply at the push of a button. Unfortunately, neither automated nor manual solutions are simultaneously fast, accurate, and cheap.

Human Computation (HComp) - sometimes called collective intelligence, crowdsourcing, or wisdom of the crowds - is the strategy of combiningthe strengths of computers and humans by assigning small, independent tasks to a large number of human contributors connected by the internet. Then, the next step is to integrate that work with automated systems.

In this talk, I will discuss my work in this area applied to natural language translation. Human translation is expensive and slow, and often unavailable between uncommon language pairs. Machine translation is inexpensive and fast, but quality remains unreliable. In an effort to find a balance between speed and quality, I will describe two iterative translation processes designed to leverage the massive number of online users who have limited or no bilingual skill. I will describe this work in the context of our larger vision of more generally combining human and machine participation in solving complex problems.

Interest Areas: 

The Department welcomes comments, suggestions and corrections.  Send email to editor [at] cs [dot] umd [dot] edu.