ENGINEERING NEWS

Dean's Seminar Series, EECS and Cognitive Science present David Ferrucci

When IBM’s Watson computer system competed against – and easily beat – top champions on “Jeopardy!,” it was more than compelling television; it was the culmination of years of research led by David Ferrucci, head of the semantic analysis and integration department at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center.

Ferrucci, the principal investigator on the DeepQA Project that spawned Watson, will speak on Wednesday, May 18 at 4 p.m. in Lecture Room 2 in the Technological Institute. The event is sponsored by the McCormick Dean’s Seminar Series, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and the Department of Cognitive Science.

Attaining champion-level performance in “Jeopardy!” requires a computer system to rapidly and accurately answer rich open-domain questions, and to predict its own performance on any given category/question. The system must deliver high degrees of precision and confidence over a very broad range of knowledge and natural language content with a 3-second response time. In this talk, Ferrucci will introduce the audience to the Jeopardy! Challenge and discuss how IBM tackled it using DeepQA.

Ferrucci focuses on technologies for automatically discovering valuable knowledge in natural language content and using it to enable better decision-making. As part of his research he led the team that developed UIMA, a software framework and open standard widely used by industry and academia for collaboratively integrating, deploying and scaling advanced text and multi-modal analytics.

Ferrucci earned a PhD in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1994, and a BS in biology from Manhattan College. He is published in the areas of artificial intelligence, knowledge representation and reasoning, natural language processing, and automatic question-answering.