Research in Natural Language Processing (NLP) at UIC focuses on semantics, and discourse and dialogue processing. Our goal is to use NLP to support both education and instruction, and collaboration between human or artificial agents. We focus on NLP with a purpose: interfaces and models whose core is NLP technology and that have the potential of positively affecting society. We focus on three main strands of research: a. NL interfaces for educational technology; b. summarization, including for health applications; c. multimodal communication, including human-robot interaction and conversational interfaces for visualization.

For more details about what we do, please visit the Research tab above.


Here are some exciting things happening in the UIC NLP Lab!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 20:37
Dr. Rachel Harsley Receives 2017 UIC Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Rachel Harsley, NLP Lab alumna, was awarded the 2017 UIC Distinguished Service Award by the Engineering Alumni Association. The award was bestowed on November 15, 2017, at the UIC College of Engineering Alumni Awards Dinner.


Dr. Rachel Harsley and Dr. Barbara Di Eugenio

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 20:35
New funding from the National Science Foundation

Prof. Barbara Di Eugenio is co-Principal Investigator on a new NSF award that will support the lab work on human-robot interaction. The award is  titled "An Interaction Manager for Language and Force Exchanges in Human-Robot Physical Collaboration", and the PI is Prof Miloš Zefran, of ECE (UIC). The grant started on Aug 1, 2017 and will last three years.

Abstract: This project will develop a computational and data-driven framework for a robot assistant to collaborate with humans in everyday tasks that involve physical interaction, such as handing over or moving an object together. Using models learned from observing humans perform such tasks, the robot will engage in back-and-forth communication, where turns can be both spoken utterances and force exchanges. Robots that can collaborate to perform physical tasks could provide assistance in a variety of settings, such as performing household chores, supporting the elderly to remain independent, and assisting human workers on the factory floor.

The transformative idea of the proposal is to generalize the methodology of dialog processing to include physical interaction. The fundamental challenge is how to bridge the gap between the symbolic processing of language and the low-level control of force exchanges. The concept of interaction primitives (IPs) is introduced to model physical interactions. Further, a planning and execution framework in the form of an interaction manager is proposed. The proposed interaction manager broadens the traditional dialogue modeling paradigm so that information can flow from more abstract to lower levels, and vice versa: language affects physical interaction, and physical interaction affects what is said. To build the interaction manager, a targeted data collection where humans perform tasks of interest will be performed. Since physical interaction data is invariably sparse, statistical learning on the data will be complemented by model-based generalizations, allowing robots to collaborate with humans in highly variable and unstructured environments. The research will inform new course development, and involve several undergraduate and graduate students.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 December 2017 05:44
Nick Green defends his PhD thesis (March 2, 2017)

Nick Green successfully defended his PhD thesis, titled: "Example Based Pedagogical Strategies in a Computer Science Intelligent Tutoring System"

His committee included: Barbara Di Eugenio (advisor), Tom Moher (CS, UIC), Ugo Buy (CS, UIC), Davide Fossati (CS, Emory University), Patrick Seeling (CS, Central Michigan University)

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 October 2017 21:16
Rachel Harsley defends her PhD (March 1, 2017)

Rachel Harsley successfully defended her PhD thesis, titled: "Supporting Effective Collaborative Learning in A Computer Science Intelligent Tutoring System"

Her committee included: Barbara Di Eugenio (advisor), Tom Moher (CS, UIC), Susan Goldman (LAS, Psychology and Education, UIC), Cynthia Taylor (CS, UIC), Davide Fossati (CS, Emory University), Tiffany Barnes (CS, North Carolina State University)



Last Updated on Saturday, 28 October 2017 21:38
Sabita Acharya Receives "50 for the Future" Award from the Illinois Technology Foundation

Sabita Acharya received the prestigious "50 for the Future" award from the Illinois Technology Foundation.

The annual event, Fifty for the Future®, continues to build awareness of the talent of tomorrow for the Illinois technology ecosystem. The program, currently in its 10th year, recognizes the best and brightest technology students in the state. (illinoistechfoundation.org)

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2017 17:26
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