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I am a Consulting Professor in Linguistics at Stanford and an ACL Fellow. I started my academic life as a semanticist and switched over to computational linguistics in the 1980s. During my many years at Xerox I did pioneering work on finite-state technology and its linguistic applications. Currently I am back in semantics thinking about local textual inference at Stanford. I am a member of the group a researchers at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI). The name of our group is Language and Natural Reasoning. Cleo Condoravdi, Stanley Peters, Annie Zaenen and myself are working together on SRI's FAUST project, a part of DARPAs Machine Reading Program.
I received my Ph.D. in Linguistics from Indiana University in 1969 on a semantics dissertation about discourse referents, and pronoun/antecedent relations (Bach-Peters sentences, paycheck pronouns). As a Linguistics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, 1969-1983, I worked mostly on semantics. My papers from that period are about topics such as implicative verbs, presuppositions, conventional implicatures, and questions. During my last years at UT I became more and more interested in computational issues. The 1983 KIMMO system was an early implementation of two-level morphology. At the SRI AI Laboratory in 1984-1987 my main interest was a unification-based grammar formalism, SRI's PATR-II. If you are interested in vintage papers from these years, please visit my Paper Archive.
At PARC from 1987 to 2011, on loan to XRCE between 1994 and 2000, I made contributions to finite-state technology and its application to morphology and syntax. In 2003 Kenneth R. Beesley and I published a textbook on Finite State Morphology that comes with software for creating and using finite-state networks. The book has its own web site. New versions of the software are available under a click-through-license. There are many commercial applications of this technology starting with Inxight in 1997, a PARC spin-off now part of SAP, and including Powerset, a startup company that adapted PARC technology to improve the quality of search on the internet. Powerset was acquired by Microsoft's Bing Division. SAP and Microsoft have deployed an industrial version of XFST, the general-purpose toolkit described in the Beesley&Karttunen book. The European META-NET organization awarded XFST a META Seal of Recognition at the 2012 Meeting in Brussels.
The Association for Computational Linguistics gives each year at its Annual Meeting a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” I became the recipient of the 2007 award at the 45th Annual Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, June 26, 2007. See the video of the award ceremony and my acceptance speech, “Word Play.” The written version of the talk appeared in the December 2007 issue of Computational Linguistics.
The Linguistics Department at Indiana University honored me with a Distinguished Alumni Award in April 2009. My acceptance speech tells the story of how I got Bloomington and managed to get a Ph.D. in Linguistics.
Annie Zaenen and I taught a course on From Syntax to Natural Logic at the LSA 2011 Linguistic Institute in Boulder. We will be teaching a similar course at Stanford during the 2013 Winter Quarter.
META Prize and META Seal of Recognition Award Ceremony
as author at META-FORUM 2012 - A Strategy for Multilingual Europe, Brussels,