Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Rebecca HwaDr. Rebecca Hwa joined the Department of Computer Science in the fall of 2003. She received her BS in Computer Science and Engineering from UCLA in 1993, and her PhD in Computer Science from Harvard University in 2001. Her research is in the areas of artificial intelligence and natural language processing.
She is particularly interested in applying statistical and machine learning methods to natural language applications such as parsing and machine translation. Dr. Hwa’s work has centered on the fundamental challenge of training a machine to represent linguistic structures. The goal for the system is to automatically induce a model of a language (e.g., a grammar for English) such that it could generate the correct parse tree (i.e., linguistic structural analysis) for any sentence in the language. Such a system has great practical value because performing syntactic analyses on text is a vital step for applications such as speech recognition, information extraction, and machine translation. The process may also provide some insights into how people learn language structures.
In the Spring term, Dr. Hwa will be teaching a graduate seminar, which will focus on the challenges in using empirical methods for natural language processing. She looks forward to working with students in addressing these challenges.