Evening Lectures



Tuesday 9th August

Thursday 11th August

Bonnie Webber (Dick Oehrle Memorial Lecture)

Tuesday 16th August

Thursday 18th August

All Evening Lectures are scheduled from 7.00pm to 8.15pm (incl. discussion)
Venue of all Evening Lectures is the Bailey Allen Hall (South Campus, Building 8 on the campus map)

Edward Curry, Data Science Institute (DSI), NUI Galway

Data Spaces:  A new opportunity for logic, language, and computation

Forward-thinking societies must see the provision of digital infrastructure as a shared societal service, like that of water, sanitation, education, and healthcare. We desperately need new approaches to support the complex data ecosystems that our “smart” society is creating.

A data space provides a clear framework to support sharing within a data ecosystem while addressing concerns including technical issues, governance, social interactions, and business processes. Data spaces can enable individuals and organisations to share data in a trusted and controlled environment. Together with data science and AI, they offer the foundations for discovering solutions to global societal challenges.

This talk outlines the need for data commons, detail the dataspace paradigm, highlights future research challenges, and provides an overview of European efforts driving their realisation.

Speaker short bio (http://edwardcurry.org/):  

Prof. Edward Curry obtained his doctorate in Computer Science from NUI Galway in 2006. From 2006-2009 he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI). In 2010 he founded and self-funded a research group at DERI, which he led till 2015. In 2015 he took up a permanent position Lecturer (Above the Bar) position at the School of Computer Science & Informatics, UCD. In 2016, he was appointed as a Lecturer at the Data Science Institute at NUI Galway, where he was a member of the Executive Management Team of the Institute. In 2021 he was appointed a Hamilton Professor of Computer Science at the Hamilton Institute at Maynooth University. Currently, he is the Established Professor of Data Science and Director of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics and the Data Science Institute at NUI Galway. Edward has made substantial contributions to semantic technologies, incremental data management, event processing middleware, software engineering, as well as distributed systems and information systems. He combines strong theoretical results with high-impact practical applications. Edward is author/co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, which attracted more than 4,900 citations and resulted in an H-index of 36 (Google Scholar) and an overall Field-Weighted Citation Impact of 3.16 (Scopus). The excellence and impact of his research were acknowledged by numerous awards, including best paper awards, the NUIG President’s Award for Societal Impact in 2017, and invitations to speak at several leading research organisations and venues, including UC Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Dagstuhl. Since 2010 Edward acquired more than €4M in funding to establish and expand his research. He led/is leading several large-scale collaborative research projects such as the European Union’s Waternomics project comprising nine partners from 5 countries. The technology Edward develops with his team fuels many industrial applications, such as energy, water and mobility management at Schneider Electric, Intel, DELL Technologies, and Linate Airport. He is organiser and programme co-chair of renowned conferences and workshops, including CIKM 2020, AICS 2019, ECML 2018, IEEE BigData Congress, and European Big Data Value Forum.  Edward is co-founder and elected Vice President of the Big Data Value Association, an industry-led European big data community, has built consensus on a joint European big data research and innovation agenda and influenced European data innovation policy to deliver on the agenda. In 2021 he was a member of the founding board of the Adra-Association, which represents the private-side of the AI, Data and Robotics partnership in Horizon Europe.  He serves as an expert for industry, the European Commission, NWO, FWO, FWF, SNSF, and the European Marine Board. He chairs the advisory board of the Big Data for Smart Society Institute (GATE) in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

Henriëtte de Swart, Utrecht University

From Translation Corpora to Cross-Linguistic Semantics

Cross-linguistic semantics is concerned with the range and limits of variation in meaning across languages. Leaving aside linguistic relativity, we can use the standard apparatus of contemporary semantic theory to define linguistic meanings and develop a cross-linguistic perspective through multilingual comparison. The challenge is to ground the comparison in empirical data that ensure meaning equivalence in context. The solution proposed in the Time in Translation project is to exploit high quality translations as a source of cross-linguistic semantic evidence. Translations create a grammatically correct mirror image of the original meaning in the target language, so grammatical differences between languages will be reflected in the choices made by the translator. Each translation builds on the same source text, so parallel corpus data can serve as the input to a multilingual comparison.

The talk presents results and insights from this line of work in the domain of tense and aspect in Western European languages. The translation mining methodology proves to be sound and robust in the sense that it reproduces familiar insights from the literature (for instance the more liberal use of the perfect in French and German and a heavily restricted perfect in Portuguese and Greek in comparison to English and Spanish). The approach adds more semantic detail to the picture by placing the languages on a perfect-past scale, and identifying the meaning ingredients the perfect grammar is sensitive to in each language. New insights emerge from the corpus data, for instance about tense use in narrative discourse and in dialogue. We can easily extend the comparison to more languages, including language varieties and languages outside the Western European families. The methodology lends itself to all kinds of linguistic puzzles, as witnessed by successful applications to temporal connectives and article systems.

All in all, I hope to show that translation corpora constitute a valuable source of cross-linguistic semantic evidence, and we can rely on them to build a cross-linguistically robust compositional semantics.

Speaker short bio:  

After she obtained her PhD at Groningen University in 1991, Henriëtte de Swart taught at Groningen University and Stanford University until she became a full professor in French linguistics and semantics at Utrecht University in 1997, and an affiliated member of AI.

Her research focuses on cross-linguistic variation in meaning. She published journal articles, books and book chapters on tense and aspect, negation, bare nominals and indefinites, as well as an introductory textbook in semantics. She also investigated the role of semantics in language evolution, and was closely involved in the development of bidirectional optimality theory as a theory of the syntax-semantics interface.

She was an associate editor of Natural Language and Linguistic Theory (2015-2018), was director of the Netherlands national graduate school in linguistics (LOT) (2006-2011 and 2015-2018), the director of the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (UiL OTS) (2011-1015) and director of studies of the Research Master in Linguistics at Utrecht University (2012-2018). She is an elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW) (2013), and an honorary member of the Linguistic Society of America (2022).

Her current research is embedded in the NWO funded project ‘Time in Translation’, which she directs in collaboration with Bert Le Bruyn (Utrecht University). 

Bonnie Webber, University of Edinburgh

Could do better: Efforts to identify and correct inconsistencies in corpus annotation

Speaker short bio:

Bonnie Webber received her PhD from Harvard University before joining the
Department of Computer & Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania
(Philadelphia PA). After 20 years at Penn, she moved to Edinburgh, where she
joined the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. She is now
Professor Emeritus.

Known for early research on "cooperative question-answering" and extended
research on discourse anaphora and discourse relations, she has served as
President of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) and Deputy
Chair of the European COST action IS1312, "TextLink: Structuring Discourse
in Multilingual Europe". Along with Aravind Joshi, Rashmi Prasad, Alan Lee
and Eleni Miltsakaki, she co-developed the Penn Discourse TreeBank -- most
recently, the PDTB-3.0 (LDC2019T05).

She is a Fellow of the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
(AAAI), the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) and the Royal
Society of Edinburgh (RSE). In July 2020, she was awarded the ACL Life Time
Achievement award. Her current interests lie in automating the recognition
and correction of inconsistencies in annotated corpora and in integrating
approaches to discourse coherence based on discourse anaphors and on discourse

Samson Abramsky, University College London

Contextuality: from quantum mechanics to logic, language and computation

Contextuality is the key non-classical feature of quantum mechanics, which has been used to show various forms of quantum advantage in computation.
Conceptually, contextuality arises where we have a family of overlapping pieces of data, which are locally consistent but globally inconsistent.

We shall explore the many manifestations of contextuality, and its links to the foundations of probability, logic, and linguistics.

The lecture will not assume any prior knowledge of quantum mechanics.
It should be understandable assuming only some knowledge of propositional calculus and discrete probability.

Speaker short bio:

Samson Abramsky is Professor of Computer Science at University College London.

Previously he was Christopher Strachey Professor of Computing at the University of Oxford, and he has also held chairs at Imperial College and the University of Edinburgh.

He has worked on a wide range of topics within the logic and semantics of computation.

Pioneering contributions include his work on domains and duality; on game semantics, full abstraction and full completeness; on categorical quantum mechanics; on contextuality in quantum mechanics and beyond; and on game comonads and new connections between Structure (structural methods from semantics) and Power (expressiveness and complexity).

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Member of Academia Europaea, Fellow of the ACM, and EATCS Fellow.

He has received the BCS Lovelace award, and the Alonzo Church award from ACM SIGLOG, EACSL, EATCS, and the Kurt Goedel Society. A volume in the Springer series Outstanding Contributions to Logic dedicated to his work is currently in press.