The 4th Statistical Machine Learning Seminar (2011.7.26)

The 4th Statistical Machine Learning Seminar

2011.7.26 (Tue) 15:00-17:00

The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, seminar room 4 (3rd floor)

Speaker: Alexandre Bouchard-Cote (University of British Columbia)

Title: Probabilistic Models of Language Change

I will talk about probabilistic models of language change, and how we
used these models to reconstruct proto-languages and to understand the statistical regularities of the language change process itself. I
will illustrate the potential of our methods with our results on the
so called functional load hypothesis. This conjecture has eluded
classical models for decades, but here I will show how we obtained
compelling evidence for it by using our probabilistic models.
If time permits, I will also talk about new Sequential Monte Carlo
algorithms for the related problems of phylogenetic tree and cognate
inference. The technique we used to construct these algorithms also
has applications in other NLP inference tasks over combinatorial
spaces, for example alignment and parsing.