Beyond document processing: from computational linguistics to computational humour

Third international CLIP workshop – July 10, 2007 - Camogli (Genova), Italy

Invited talk

Making Computer Laugh: Investigations in Automatic Humour Recognition

Speaker: Rada Mihalcea (link to home page).

Humour is one of the most interesting and puzzling aspects of human behavior. Despite the attention it has received in fields such as philosophy, linguistics, and psychology, there have been only few attempts to create computational models for humour recognition or generation.

In this talk, I will address four important research questions related to the recognition and use of verbally expressed humour, and I will bring empirical evidence that computational approaches can be successfully applied to these tasks. First, I will show that it is possible to automatically construct a very large collection of humorous texts using a novel technique for Web-based bootstrapping. Second, through experiments performed on very large data sets, I will show how classification algorithms can be applied to effectively distinguish between humorous and non-humorous texts, with significant improvements observed over a-priori known baselines. Third, I will illustrate how techniques for language analysis can be used to uncover interesting properties of humorous text. Finally, fourth, I will show how an automatic method for the selection and addition of contextualized humorous text can improve the user-experience and overall quality of widely used computer-based applications.

This is joint work with Carlo Strapparava and Stephen Pulman.

About the speaker

Rada Mihalcea is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of North Texas. Her research interests are in lexical semantics, graph-based algorithms for natural language processing, minimally supervised natural language learning, and multilingual natural language processing. She is currently involved in a number of research projects, including knowledge-based word sense disambiguation, (non-traditional) methods for building annotated corpora with volunteer contributions over the Web, graph-based algorithms for text processing, opinion and sentiment analysis, and computational humour. She has published a large number of articles in books, journals, and proceedings, in these and related areas. She is the president of the ACL Special Group on the Lexicon (SIGLEX), and a board member for the ACL Special Group on Natural Language Learning (SIGNLL). She serves on the editorial boards of the journal of Computational Linguistics, the journal of Language Resources and Evaluations, the Journal of Natural Language Engineering, the Journal of Research on Language and Computation, and the recently established journal of Interesting Negative Results in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.