Linguistics Speaker Series: Omri Abend

UCCA: A computational approach to cross-linguistic semantic representation

Analyzing large volumes of text in various languages and mapping them into a representation that reflects content, rather than form, is one of the great challenges NLP must face. The talk will present UCCA (Universal Conceptual Cognitive Annotation), an approach to structural semantic representation that emphasizes cross-linguistic applicability and accessibility to non-expert annotators, which represents a step towards meeting this challenge. The first part of the talk will introduce the UCCA scheme and show how it provides a typologically motivated characterization of abstract semantic structure. The second part will discuss a transition-based approach to UCCA parsing, and experiments on leveraging annotated data in other formalisms (such as AMR and SDP) to improve UCCA parsing through multi-task learning. The talk will conclude with an overview of how UCCA is being applied to text-to-text generation tasks, such as machine translation and text simplification, and their evaluation.

All of UCCA's resources are freely available at

Joint work with Leshem Choshen, Daniel Hershcovich, Ari Rappoport and Elior Sulem.

Bio: Omri Abend is a faculty member in the Hebrew University's departments of Computer Science and Cognitive Science. Previously he was a post-doc in Mark Steedman's lab in the University of Edinburgh. Omri earned his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was supervised by Ari Rappoport. Before that, he studied mathematics and cognitive sciences in the Hebrew University. Omri's research focuses on semantics, including semantic representation and parsing, as well as corpus annotation and evaluation.

Friday, September 21, 2018 at 3:30pm

Poulton Hall, 230
1421 37th St., N.W., Washington


Georgetown College, Linguistics

Event Contact Name

Conor Sinclair

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