New Research Challenges in Language Understanding

November 22, 2013

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations

We held the first global Language Understanding and Knowledge Discovery Focused Faculty Workshop in Nanjing, China, on November 14-15, 2013. Thirty-four faculty members joined the workshop arriving from 10 countries and regions across APAC, EMEA and the US. Googlers from Research, Engineering and University Relations/University Programs also attended the event.

The 2-day workshop included keynote talks, panel discussions and break-out sessions [agenda]. It was an engaging and productive workshop, and we saw lots of positive interactions among the attendees. The workshop encouraged communication between Google and faculty around the world working in these areas.

Research in text mining continues to explore open questions relating to entity annotation, relation extraction, and more. The workshop’s goal was to brainstorm and discuss relevant topics to further investigate these areas. Ultimately, this research should help provide users search results that are much more relevant to them.

At the end of the workshop, participants identified four topics representing challenges and opportunities for further exploration in Language Understanding and Knowledge Discovery:

  • Knowledge representation, integration, and maintenance
  • Efficient and scalable infrastructure and algorithms for inferencing
  • Presentation and explanation of knowledge
  • Multilingual computation

Going forward, Google will be collaborating with academic researchers on a position paper related to these topics. We also welcome faculty interested in contributing to further research in this area to submit a proposal to the Faculty Research Awards program. Faculty Research Awards are one-year grants to researchers working in areas of mutual interest.

The faculty attendees responded positively to the focused workshop format, as it allowed time to go in depth into important and timely research questions. Encouraged by their feedback, we are considering similar workshops on other topics in the future.