Guest Speaker Benno Stein


On Tuesday, January 20th 2015, Prof. Dr. Benno Stein (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar) will give an LKE/KDSL Guest Lecture at 15:00 in S2|02 A102.

Title: Applying Heuristic Search Technology for Constrained Paraphrasing.

Abstract: We consider the problem of automatically paraphrasing a text in order to find an equivalent text that contains a given acrostic. A text contains an acrostic, if the first letters of a range of consecutive lines form a word or phrase. Our approach turns this paraphrasing task into an optimization problem: we use various existing and also new paraphrasing techniques as operators applicable to intermediate versions of a text (e.g., replacing synonyms), and we search for an operator sequence with minimum text quality loss. The experimental analysis shows that we can solve the acrostic generation problem both effectively and efficiently.

However, our main contribution lies in the presented technology paradigm: a novel and promising combination of methods from Information Retrieval, Computational Linguistics, and Artificial Intelligence. The approach naturally generalizes to related paraphrasing tasks such as shortening or simplifying a given text, writing style obfuscation, answer grading, or dialog systems.

Bio: Benno Stein is chair of the Web-Technology and Information Systems Group at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. His research focuses on modeling and solving data- and knowledge-intensive information processing tasks. He has developed algorithms and tools for information retrieval, data mining, knowledge processing, as well as for engineering design and simulation (patents granted). For several achievements of his research he has been awarded with scientific and commercial prizes.

Professional background: Study at the University of Karlsruhe (1984 – 1989). Dissertation (1995) and Habilitation (2002) in computer science at the University of Paderborn. Appointment as a full professor for Web Technology and Information Systems at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (2005). Research stays at IBM, Germany, and the International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley. Benno Stein serves on scientific boards, on program committees, as reviewer in various relevant conferences and journals, and he is chair of TIR, the international Workshop Series on Text-based Information Retrieval. He is cofounder (1995) and scientific director of the Art Systems Software Ltd, a world leading company for simulation technology in fluidic engineering.