Intelligent Question Answering Using the Wisdom of the Crowd

Joint Seminar
Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering
Department of Computer Science & Engineering
Human Language Technology Center

Speaker:Dr. Preslav Nakov
        Senior Scientist
        Qatar Computing Research Institute,
        Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)

Title:  "Intelligent Question Answering Using the Wisdom of the Crowd"

Date :  Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Time :  11:00am - 12:00 noon

Venue : Room 2303 (2/F, lift 17/18), HKUST


In recent years, community Question Answering forums such as
StackOverflow, Quora, Qatar Living, etc. have gained a lot of popularity
as a source of knowledge. These forums typically organize their content in
the form of multiple topic-oriented question-answer threads, where a
question posed by a user in the past is followed by a possibly very long
list of other users' answers intended to answer the question. Many such
on-line forums are not moderated, which often results in noisy and
redundant content, as users tend to deviate from the question and start
asking new questions or engage in conversations, fights, etc. Yet, they
represent a rich source of information, which can help answer a number of
new questions, as people often ask similar things again and again. I will
explore three general problems related to such forums, focusing on Qatar
Living: (i) deciding which answers are good, (ii) finding
related/duplicated questions, and (iii) finding good answers to a new
question. This will involve models based on deep learning and
semantic/syntactic kernels. Part of this research has been integrated in
Qatar Living, e.g., as thumbs up in their forum for (i), or as part of
their betasearch for (iii). I will also introduce some promising
extensions of this work in directions such as application to Arabic (can
we apply these models to Arabic medical forums), cross-language question
answering (can we answer a question in Arabic using Qatar Living, which is
in English), fact checking (many answers in the forum look superficially
good, but which of them are actually factual), trollness detection (can we
find the forum trolls and their answers), answer justification (can we
find and group contradictory answers), and interactive cQA (can we turn
the Qatar Living forum into a chatbot, e.g., one that can be integrated in
Alexa). This research was performed by the Arabic Language Technologies
(ALT) group at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), Hamad bin
Khalifa University. It is part of the Interactive sYstems for Answer
Search (Iyas) project, which is developed in collaboration with MIT-CSAIL.


Dr. Preslav Nakov is a Senior Scientist at the Qatar Computing Research
Institute, HBKU. His research interests include computational linguistics
and natural language processing (for English, Arabic, Chinese,
Malay/Indonesian, Bulgarian and other languages), machine translation,
question answering, fact-checking, sentiment analysis, lexical semantics,
Web as a corpus, and biomedical text processing. Preslav Nakov co-authored
a Morgan & Claypool book on Semantic Relations between Nominals, two books
on computer algorithms, and many research papers in top-tier conferences
and journals. He received the Young Researcher Award at RANLP'2011. He was
also the first to receive the Bulgarian President's John Atanasoff award,
named after the inventor of the first automatic electronic digital
computer. Preslav Nakov is Secretary of ACL SIGLEX, the Special Interest
Group on the Lexicon of the Association for Computational Linguistics. He
is also a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Natural Language
Engineering, an Associate Editor of the AI Communications journal, and an
Editorial Board member of the Language Science Press Book Series on
Phraseology and Multiword Expressions. He served on the program committees
of the major conferences and workshops in Computational Linguistics,
including as a co-organizer and as an area/publication/tutorial/shared
task chair, Senior PC member, student faculty advisor, etc.; he co-chaired
SemEval 2014-2016 and was an area co-chair of ACL, EMNLP, NAACL-HLT, and
*SEM, a Senior PC member of IJCAI, and a shared task co-chair of IJCNLP.
Preslav Nakov received a PhD degree in Computer Science from the
University of California at Berkeley (supported by a Fulbright grant and a
UC Berkeley fellowship), and a MSc degree from the Sofia University. He
was a Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore, a honorary
lecturer in the Sofia University, and a research staff in the Bulgarian
Academy of Sciences.