Linguistics Department

Computers Are Running Into the Problem of Polysemy.

Thu, August 15, 2013

In her studies of word meaning, Associate Professor of Linguistics Katrin Erk has run repeatedly into the problem of word meaning. How can a learner--whether a child, a second language learner, or a computer--figure out the sense of a highly polysemous word like, for example, the English word "run"? Must the learner amass a long mental list of definitions, like the entry for "run" in a good dictionary? Now Prof. Erk has taken a new path. Instead of running her desktop machines for days, she runs her programs on the supercomputers of the Texas Advanced Computing Center. On a single run, her program can run through a billion words before she runs back to her office from class. For more information on Prof. Erk's current research, visit:

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