Language Technologies Institute Colloquium

  • Assistant Managing Director
  • Research Manager, Natual Language Computing Group
  • Microsoft Research Asia

What Will Search Engines be Changed by NLP Advancements

I think that the vision of a search engine is “Natural Search” with which users input a search intent in a natural way such as using natural language or an image and obtain their desired accurate information, expressed concisely and comprehensibly. During this process, NLP is undoubtedly one of the most crucial technologies. In the past, the search engine uses limited and shallow NLP technologies because NLP technology is not as mature as people have expected. In recent years, we have witnessed that NLP has made huge advances in various tasks such as semantic parser, question-answering, machine translation, machine reading comprehension and text generation. I think that now it is the time to consider applying these new technologies to search engines to improve the intelligence and naturalness in the search process. Introducing new NLP technologies, among other cutting-tech AI technologies, will trigger new thoughts of next generation of search engine.

In this talk, I first provide an overview of advancements of methodology and technology in NLP filed in recent years. Then I will share my thoughts about the promising change of search engines brought by these new NLP technologies. Especially, I will elaborate my thoughts on using question-answering techniques comprising semantic parser, question-answering and machine reading comprehension. Although these new promising NLP have rapidly brought meaningful change to a search engine, there are still many problems unsolved. Therefore, as a conclusion, a list of the challenging topics will be proposed with my initial thoughts of solutions.

Dr. Ming Zhou is an Assistant Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia and research manager of the Natural Language Computing Group.  He is the president of Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL). He is the chair of the Chinese Computer Federation’s (CCF) Chinese Information Technology Committee and an executive member of the Chinese Information Processing Society (CIPS). With decades of relentless efforts, he made important contribution to the promotion and development of NLP, especially in China.

Dr. Zhou received his B.S. in computer engineering from Chongqing University in 1985, and his M.S. degree and Ph.D. in computer science from Harbin Institute of Technology in 1988 and 1991. He did post-doctoral work at Tsinghua University from 1991 to 1993, later became an associate professor there. From 1996-1999, during his sabbatical, he worked for Kodensha Ltd. Co. in Japan as the leader of the Chinese-Japanese machine translation project. He joined the natural language group at Microsoft Research China (now Microsoft Research Asia) in September 1999 as researcher. He became the manager of this group in 2001. His research interests include next generation search engines, statistical and neural machine translation, question-answering, chatbots, computer poetry, riddle resolving and generation, knowledge graph, commonsense graph, semantic parser, text mining, user modelling and recommendation system.

Faculty Host: Yulia Tsvetkov

Refreshments: 4:00-  LTI 5th Floor

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