Beating Humans in Cognition: A Case for Microsoft Academic

Date: 25 April 2017

Time: 11:00 – 12:00

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Cognition is defined as the “process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses,” and often “encompasses processes such as knowledge, attention, memory, judgement, evaluation, reasoning and computation.”

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Based on this definition, humans appear to be destined to be surpassed by machines, as machines can be equipped with massive memory with perfect recall, remain attentive with perpetual endurance, and can exercise judgements and reasoning by executing necessary computations in a much faster and precise fashion.

In this talk, Kuansan Wang will describe Microsoft Academic, a research project to create a cognitive agent that can be simultaneously proficient in more than 50,000 fields of study, by reading over more than a century’s worth of scholarly publications from the web.

At the core of the agent is a virtuous cycle, where a machine reader would be aided by a knowledge graph to parse natural language articles and extract salient entities and their relationships that are then fed back to the graph to enrich its coverage. The richer the graph, the better the machine reader can understand the text.

Kuansan will show how the knowledge base, currently at age two, can be publicly accessed, and how the knowledge the agent has accumulated has played a role for Microsoft Research in assessing research impacts and determining the priorities in outreach activities.

Biography

Kuansan Wang is a principal researcher and managing director of Microsoft Research Outreach, where he is responsible for engaging with the global academic community on jointly advancing the state-of-the-art in the areas that Microsoft Research (MSR) conducts research.

He is leading a team that conducts research on web-scale machine reading, intelligent inference, deep semantic analytics and user behaviour modelling. In addition to contributing to the development of Microsoft Bing and Cortana, the technologies developed at his team can also be seen in Microsoft Academic services that include a search engine at academic.microsoft.com and the Academic Knowledge API available through Microsoft Cognitive Services.

Doctor Wang joined MSR in 1998 as a researcher in the speech technology group, where he conducted research in language modelling and multi-modal interactions. He then became a software architect for the Microsoft speech product group, responsible for Microsoft Speech Server and Response Point, and represented Microsoft to W3C, ECMA and ISO to help author international standards in speech, language and communication areas. He returned to MSR to work on web search, in 2007, and has been a key driving force in evolving web search from a keyword based to semantic based paradigm.

Find out more about the Microsoft Academic project.