Machine Learning and Inference methods have become ubiquitous and have had a broad impact on a range of scientific advances and technologies and on our ability to make sense of large amounts of data. Research in Natural Language Processing has both benefited from and contributed to advancements in these methods and provides an excellent example for some of the challenges we face moving forward.
I will describe some of our research in developing learning and inference methods in pursue of natural language understanding. In particular, I will address what I view as some of the key challenges, including (i) learning models from natural interactions, without direct supervision, (ii) knowledge acquisition and the development of inference models capable of incorporating knowledge and reason, and (iii) scalability and adaptation—learning to accelerate inference during the life time of a learning system.
A lot of this work is done within the unified computational framework of Constrained Conditional Models (CCMs), an Integer Linear Programming formulation that augments statistically learned models with declarative constraints as a way to support learning and reasoning. Within this framework, I will discuss old and new results pertaining to learning and inference and how they are used to push forward our ability to understand natural language.