As more of modern life is conducted online, the wealth of data that exists expands at a dizzying rate. Furthermore, changes in publication practices at all levels have dramatically increased the magnitude of available recorded knowledge. Soon after the turn of the century, awareness grew that information overload was a problem impacting the world at a grand scale. In response, the fields of machine learning and language technologies have developed technical solutions for getting a handle on data and transforming data into knowledge. The field of summarization has blossomed in its various foci from document summarization to summarization of behavior traces, including summarization of social interaction. Application areas in education, health, finance, and dissaster relief have taken these technologies and applied them with the goal of positive human impact. The threefold focus of this course is to increase familiarity with the relevant technology in the areas of text mining, summarization and visualization, to raise awareness of theoretical and methodological insights from the field of Human-Computer Interaction that raise research questions, set desiderata for positive impact, and guide our evaluation of technical solutions, and to offer a survey of applications in education, health, finance, and dissaster relief.
A term project will involve selecting a topic in summarization, doing a literature review, and either doing a small scale user study or a prototype implementation using open source tools.