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Chris Brew
Research Scientist
Nuance Communications
cbrew@acm.org

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I am working as a research scientist for Ron Kaplan's NLU group at Nuance, Sunnyvale. I have been there since March 1, 2013. Before that I was a research scientist for the Educational Testing Service, and before that I taught and did research in universities, at Sussex, Edinburgh and Ohio State. I am proud of the efforts an wonderful group of Ph.D, Masters and Senior thesis students with whom I have worked over the years. It is very gratifying to see the impact that they are having in research, development and service. Mirella Lapata, Sabine Schulte im Walde and Anna Feldman have  long-term academic positions in Scotland, Germany and the USA, and most of the others have research-oriented positions in government or industry. 

My background is in Computational Linguistics, especially Statistical NLP and Computational Semantics. I studied at the University of Sussex, in the Department of Experimental Psychology, where my D.Phil advisor was Steve Isard. He taught me to focus on the work, and not to worry about what the department is called. 

News

  • Insults I am provisionally 4th best of the 50 competitors who tried to Detect Insults in Social Commentary. All done with character n-grams!
    Posted Sep 21, 2012, 6:01 PM by Chris Brew
  • ASAP2 Short Answer Scoring Update We came in 5th. While we were 3rd when the public leaderboard was frozen, two entries by Kaggle experts overtook us in the rankings based on the unseen test data ...
    Posted Sep 21, 2012, 5:58 PM by Chris Brew
  • Just finished working on ASAP Short Answer Competition submission We're still anonymous, so I cannot disclose how we are doing. But it was fun to do and instructive. Looking forward to talking to Vik Paruchuri, who is not ...
    Posted Aug 29, 2012, 5:08 PM by Chris Brew
  • Compositional semantics, dependencies, statistics... Percy Liang, Michael Jordan, Dan Klein just had a long version of their ACL paper on Learning Dependency-Based Compositional Semantics accepted in Computational Linguistics. This is important stuff, and ...
    Posted Aug 27, 2012, 12:56 AM by Chris Brew
  • Congratulations Dennis Mehay  graduates. Dissertation is a very cool use of CCG (therefore potentially, rule-to-rule semantics) in Statistical MT.
    Posted Aug 21, 2012, 5:19 AM by Chris Brew
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 6. View more »

I enjoy writing my own software. It is personally gratifying to build a complete system that is competitive with the best. 


My favorite recent achievement is a system that came 10th out of 156 entries in the ASAP essay scoring competition. I built it using Python, Scikits.learn and Pandas. The main point was to practice for ETS's participation in the ASAP short answer scoring competition, for which I was part of ETS's  team. We placed 5th, out of the money.  My Kaggle name is joshnk.  I recently also came 3rd out of 91 in the Twitter personality prediction competion. See code. I also have a didactic chart parser with versions in Java and Python, and some code written for my own amusement that breaks simple ciphers, including Playfair. Stephen Boxwell and Dennis Mehay wrote a CCG-based semantic role labeler that formed the basis of some of our publications.

My textbook on Language and Computers, written with Markus Dickinson and Detmar Meurers, came out in November 2012. It's designed for a general audience, so it tries to be as gentle as possible in explaining technical ideas. The cover is going to have these kind words on it:

“This book explains the fundamentals of language technology in a coherent and engaging way without bursting at the seams of daunting calculations and formulas that typically turn off even the most enthusiastic readers."  Anna Feldman, Montclair State University

 “A clear and timely introduction to the computational processing of language, an important and fast-growing area of study and application. This text provides clear, precise and concise explanations of many of the core problems, solutions and applications encountered in the area.” Jason Baldridge, The University of Texas at Austin

We hope that students and teachers will find the book useful. 

I am proud of the efforts an wonderful crew of Ph.D, Masters and Senior thesis students with whom I have worked over the years. It is very gratifying to see the impact that they are having in research, development and service. Mirella Lapata, Sabine Schulte im Walde and Anna Feldman have  long-term academic positions in Scotland, Germany and the USA, and most of the others have research-oriented positions in government or industry. 



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