2013 Lecture

We are proud to present Prof. Eduard Hovy as the speaker of the Hendrik de Waard Lecture 2013!

Computers: form understanding language,
to understanding us

Whenever you use language to interact with a computer (like simple word processing or Google search) it is always a pain to get a computer to do exactly want you want. The reason is simple: computers don't understand you, you have to understand the computer. How easy it would be if you could just speak to a computer in natural human language and it would understand you? Although the idea is easy to imagine, it is extremely difficult to realize: human language, and the thoughts behind them, have many complexities. One of the top scientists in the field of Natural Language Processing (a branch of Artificial Intelligence), professor Eduard Hovy (Carnegie Mellon University), will describe research around the world on these problems. Some basic systems are already in use in healthcare and espionage; recently, an IBM supercomputer even won the TV show Jeopardy ("Guess the question") over human players, a victory for computers dwarfing the fact computers can beat the best human chess players! If computers really learn to understand human language, how close are they to understanding humans themselves? And if computers really understand humans, which differences remain between them and us?

About the speaker: Prof. Eduard Hovy

Born and raised in South Africa, Eduard Hovy graduated from Rand Afrikaans University in 1979 as the best science graduate of his year honours cum laude. He received a masters and PhD from Yale in 1987 and accepted a position as scientist at the University of Southern California, where he directed the Natural Language Processing Group. He holds honorary positions in Canada, China, and South Korea, reflecting the impact of his research on his field. Currently, his research focuses on computational linguistics, text mining and digital government.

Hendrik de Waard Foundation

Eduard Hovy comes all the way from the USA to Groningen to present the Hendrik de Waard Lecture 2013! This lecture is organised by the Hendrik de Waard Foundation in cooperation with Studium Generale Groningen and Science Linx. The Hendrik de Waard Foundation was founded after the retirement of the late professor of physics Hendrik de Waard in 1987. Annually, the foundation organises a lecture to inform and intrigue the general public about recent developments in science. For more information, go to www.hdw.fmf.nl or email to hdw@fmf.nl.

Details on the lecture

Start: Thursday, March 21th, 19:30h
Location: Aula, Academybuilding, Broerstraat 5