A Virtual Celebration of His Life and Work
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Jaime Carbonell foresaw a world where people could freely communicate with each other, no matter what language they spoke. He knew that making this dream a reality would require automation, so he spent his career building systems that could understand human language.

Carbonell, 66, died February 28, 2020, following an extended illness. He was the Allen Newell Professor of Computer Science and had earned the distinction of University Professor, the highest academic accolade CMU faculty can attain. He also founded and directed the Center for Machine Translation, which later became the... Read More

LTI Study Questions Influential Duchenne Smile Hypothesis
by Byron Spice | Tuesday, February 9, 2021

A smile that lifts the cheeks and crinkles the eyes is thought by many to be truly genuine. But new research at Carnegie Mellon University casts doubt on whether this joyful facial expression necessarily tells others how a person really feels inside.

In fact, these "smiling eye" smiles, called Duchenne smiles, seem to be related to smile intensity, rather than acting as an indicator of whether a person is happy or not, said Jeffrey Girard, a former post-doctoral researcher at CMU's ... Read More

by Byron Spice | Tuesday, February 9, 2021

CMU students all get their kicks
By building apps that attract mass clicks
So they teamed up in class
Built an AI with sass
That wrote them a book full of lim'ricks.

... Read More
37 Main Conference and 19 Findings Papers Accepted from LTI-Affiliated Authors
by Bryan Burtner | Friday, November 20, 2020

An impressive 46 papers by LTI faculty and students were accepted at the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), including 37 main conference accepted papers and 19 papers accepted to the newly added Findings publication.

Organized by the Association for Computational Linguisitcs, and now in its 25th year, EMNLP is one of the premier conferences worldwide in the fields of Natual Language Processing and Computational Linguistics. This year's conference was held virtually November 16-20... Read More

by Byron Spice | Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Alex Waibel, who holds faculty appointments in both the Language Technologies Institute and at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, reports that his German lab has developed a computer system that for the first time outperforms people in recognizing conversational speech.

It's difficult even for people to accurately transcribe conversations, Waibel said. "When people talk to each... Read More

Machine Translation Tools Find Word Meanings Vary Based on News Viewership
by Byron Spice | Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It's not news that U.S. politics are highly polarized or that polarization affects cable news channels. But researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, using computer translation tools in an unprecedented way, have found that even the meanings of some words are now polarized.

Everyone is speaking English, they said, yet the computer analysis of social media discussions shows viewers of different news channels are, in a sense, speaking different languages.

Based on millions of user comments on the YouTube channels for four leading cable news outlets, it seems that viewers of... Read More

by Byron Spice | Wednesday, October 7, 2020

LTI Ph.D. student Anjalie Field has received a 2020 Google Ph.D. Fellowships. Field is among 53 recipients this year worldwide, two of whom are enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Google Ph.D. Fellowship Program recognizes outstanding graduate students doing exceptional and innovative research in areas relevant to computer science and related fields. In addition to providing tuition and a stipend, the program matches each fellow with a Google research mentor.

Field's work focuses on... Read More

Team prepares for first competition
by Byron Spice | Friday, September 18, 2020

An autonomous car programmed by a Carnegie Mellon University student team will race for the first time Sept. 24-25 when Roborace, an international competition for autonomous vehicles (AVs), begins its season on the island of Anglesey in Wales.

In Roborace, each team prepares their own artificial intelligence algorithms to control their race car, but all of the teams use identically prepared AVs, compute platforms and venues. To prepare for this month's race, the CMU team spent the summer working on the fundamentals of driving... Read More

System Developed by LTI Researchers Uses Social Media Posts to Assess Building Damage
by Byron Spice | Friday, September 4, 2020

It wasn't long after Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast Thursday that people began flying drones to record the damage and posting videos on social media. Those videos are a precious resource, say researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, who are working on ways to use them for rapid damage assessment.

By using artificial intelligence, the researchers are developing a system that can automatically identify buildings and make an initial determination of whether they are damaged and how serious that damage might be.

"Current damage assessments are mostly based on individuals... Read More

LTI and CMU researchers work to automatically make requests more polite
by Byron Spice | Tuesday, July 7, 2020

In a tense time when a pandemic rages, politicians wrangle for votes and protesters demand racial justice, a little politeness and courtesy go a long way. Now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an automated method for making communications more polite.

Specifically, the method takes nonpolite directives or requests — those that use either impolite or neutral language — and restructures them or adds words to make them more well-mannered. "Send me the data," for instance, might become "Could you please send me the data?"

The researchers will present... Read More