LINGUIST List 5.1473

Mon 19 Dec 1994

Calls: Workshop on context in NLP

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  1. , IJCAI95 Workshop on context in NLP

Message 1: IJCAI95 Workshop on context in NLP

Date: Fri, 16 Dec 94 15:45:32 ESIJCAI95 Workshop on context in NLP
From: <>
Subject: IJCAI95 Workshop on context in NLP



August 19, 20, or 21, 1995
Montreal, Canada

Correct interpretation of natural language utterances and texts
requires linguistic and non-linguistic context. The goal of this
workshop is to investigate the nature of context in natural language,
its role in natural language processing, and shed some light on this
largely unexplored area of great theoretical and practical importance.
Dialogue and text processing are two application domains where the
lack of good theories of context impedes significant progress in
applying and developing new technologies.

As speech technology matures, it becomes technically feasible to build
dialogue systems. However, understanding dialogues, and especially
multimodal dialogues, is not possible without some account of the role
of context. Similarly, with today's text processing technology it is
feasible to automatically create knowledge bases from fairly
unconstrained texts such as newspaper archives. Ignoring
context in such texts, however, results in knowledge bases that are
not only very incomplete, but also dramatically different from
knowledge bases created by humans, based on the same texts.

We invite papers from researchers active in the fields of natural
language processing, knowledge representation, and other related areas
addressing theoretical aspects of context and their implications for
designing practical NLP systems. We are interested in reports on
implemented NLP systems utilizing contextual information. We are also
interested in knowledge representation systems, inference methods, and
algorithms that would allow one to computationally handle specific
aspects of context.


Our workshop will provide answers and insights into how to go about
answering a number of questions, including the following:


 What is context ?
 What is
 "context of the previous utterance/sentence"
 "context of the dialog-so-far/text-so-far"
 and what is the relationship between them ?

 How many different contexts are there ?
 What makes two contexts different ?

 What is the relationship between formalization of context and
 natural language ideas of context ?

 What is the status of context in a formal representation
 aiming at truthfully capturing all the characteristics
 of natural language ?

 Is context an inherent characteristic of natural language
 that ultimately decides the formal power of natural language ?
 Is natural language minus context a less powerful formal language ?

 Does representing context and truthfully capturing characteristics
 of natural language require new knowledge representation or automated
 reasoning systems ?

 What is the relationship between context,
 and the semantics and pragmatics of natural language ?

 Is context different from possible worlds and situations ?

 What is the relationship between domain ontologies and contexts ?


 In which way does context affect interpretation of
 natural language utterances and texts ?

 Which aspects of context or which contexts result in
refined, more general, and different interpretations of natural language ?

 Which aspects of context are explicit and which are implicit
 in natural language utterances and texts ?

 Which phenomena and inferences observed in natural language are
 context-independent and which ones always depend on context ?


 Does handling context increase or decrease computational complexity
 of natural language processing ?

 How to automatically identify context-provided constraints
 resulting in conveying and understanding additional or different
 aspects of information ?

 How to represent those extra constraints provided by context
 and how to automatically compute context-dependent
 interpretation of natural language ?

 Should the final interpretation of natural language be decontextualized
 when stored in a knowledge base ?

 How can information obtained in one context be utilized
 in another, possibly unanticipated context ?


We will hold four sessions:

 I: Role of context in natural language
 II: Context-dependent interpretation of natural language
 III: Computability
 IV: General discussion

Sessions I, II, and III will be mildly structured:
 the committee will present a brief overview of possible answers
 to the specific questions included in the agenda, and discuss their
 own answers. This presentation will be mixed with questions
 from the participants.

 the participants whose papers were accepted will briefly comment
 on their own answers to these questions. These presentations will
 also be mixed with questions from the participants.

Session IV, a general discussion, will give each participant
a chance to make a statement about any context-related issue,
make a comment, raise a question, argue for or against some answers etc.


A pre-workshop mailing list will be established;
 please, indicate whether you want to be included;

In order to facilitate interaction and focus the discussion, two
months before the workshop, we will provide all the participants with
specific examples and data illustrating various aspects of context.

Authors+titles+abstracts of the accepted papers,
but NOT the papers themselves, will be available on-line to everybody.

The papers will only be available to the workshop participants. We
hope that this will encourage people to make strong claims even if the
support for them is not quite there, report on partial, ongoing,
promising research, be frank in evaluating existing approaches and
their own accomplishments, openly comment on limitations, in short, say
all those (very) informative things that are sometimes difficult, if
not impossible, to communicate in "official" publications.

Shared data, references, papers and the mailing list
 are to allow the participants to:
 - Sort out as many as possible things before the workshop
 - Help focusing the workshop discussion on the hardest and
 most controversial issues
 - Raise objections and bring up controversial claims early on
 in order to prepare well thought of answers and constructive


 A limited number, 30 or so, active participants will be selected
 on the basis of submitted papers. A small number, 5 or so, of
 no-paper-attendance-only participants will also be considered;
 such persons should submit a one page research summary and a list
 of relevant publications.

 Attendees are required to register for the main IJCAI-95 conference.


Very soon
 Mosaic home page for the workshop set

 Papers received

 Selected papers accepted
 Participants chosen


 Acceptance notifications sent to authors

 Sent to IJCAI
 Selected papers to be included in the working notes
 List of confirmed participants
 Request for equipment/room

 Mosaic home page for the workshop updated
 e-mail discussion begins

 Distributed to the participants
 Final list of specific issues to be discussed at the workshop
 References to the existing work on context
 Examples and data illustrating various aspects of context

 Final list of participants sent to IJCAI

 Workshop takes place

 Written review of the workshop ready


 Same as IJCAI-95:
 12 pt article latex style
 15 pages maximum, including title, abstract, figures, and references
 The first page must include:
 author's name(s)
 complete mailing address
 e-mail address
 phone/fax number(s)
 abstract of 200 or so words


 Electronic submissions are strongly preferred:

 anonymous ftp to ~pub/context directory

 Place the postscript or ASCII version of your paper,
 your author+title+abstract ASCII file,
 your references (bibtex format preferred) file, and
 a file with sample data and/or specific examples

 Please, name your files with the name of the first author.

 For example, John Block might place there the following: a .ps version of his paper
 block.text an ASCII version of his paper if .ps not possible
 block-a.text an ASCII file with authors names, title, and abstract
 block-r.bbl a bibliography file with references
 block-e.text an ASCII file with sample data and/or specific


 As the last resort, four hard copies of the paper
 can be snail mailed to

 Lucja Iwanska
 Department of Computer Science
 Wayne State University
 Detroit, MI 48202, USA
 (313) 577-1667 (phone)
 (313) 577-2478 (secretary)
 (313) 577-6868 (fax)

Info about the workshop and the abstracts of the accepted papers
is available via a Mosaic home page at


Should you have any questions or need additional information,
 please contact

 Lucja Iwanska
 Department of Computer Science
 Wayne State University
 Detroit, MI 48202

 (313) 577-1667 (phone)
 (313) 577-2478 (secretary)
 (313) 577-6868 (fax)


Harry C. Bunt, KUB-University (Netherlands)
Keith Devlin, Saint Mary's College (USA)
R.V. Guha, Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (USA)
Lucja Iwanska, Wayne State University (USA)
Karen Jensen, Microsoft Corporation (USA)
John McCarthy, Stanford University (USA)
John F. Sowa, SUNY at Binghampton (USA)
Wlodek Zadrozny, IBM TJ Watson Research Center (USA)
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