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Jessy Li–Modeling Discourse as Questions and Answers

Spring 2024 Data Science Seminar Series
Jessy Li–Modeling Discourse as Questions and Answers

March 4 @ 2:00 pm 3:00 pm

March 4th, 2024

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Location: Blocker 220
Online via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 974 9688 4861
Password: 923446

Speaker: Jessy Li, Ph.D., Associate Professor for the Department of Linguistics, The University of Texas at Austin

Faculty Host: Lu Tang, COMM

Abstract: Discourse structures characterize inter-sentential relationships and textual organization, enhancing high-level text comprehension. However, deriving these structures relies on annotated data that are linguistically sophisticated and thus challenging to obtain. In the wake of large language models, we introduce a paradigm shift that views discourse structure through the lens of free-form question answering, aligning with the linguistic framework of Questions Under Discussion (QUD). We construct two tasks under QUD: (1) generating curiosity-driven, open-ended questions and locating their answers in a document; (2) QUD dependency parsing, by considering each sentence as the answer to an implicit question elicited from context. We further discuss the evaluation of QUD question generation in a linguistically informed scheme. We conclude with potential new applications enabled by the QUD framework that highlight its versatility, and natural fit with LLMs and human interactions alike.

Biography: Jessy Li is an associate professor in the Linguistics Department at The University of Texas at Austin, where she works on computational linguistics and natural language processing. Her work focuses on discourse processing, text generation, and language pragmatics in social contexts. She received her Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, an ACL Outstanding Paper Award (2022), an ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award (2019), an Area Chair Favorite honor at COLING (2018), and a Best Paper nomination at SIGDIAL (2016). Jessy is the current Secretary of the North American Chapter of ACL (NAACL).

Link to PDF version

You can also click this link to join the seminar

For more information about TAMIDS Seminar Series, please contact Ms. Jennifer South at jsouth@tamu.edu