Research Masters and PhD programs

At the Tilburg University Graduate Schools, the combination of education and research creates a perfect learning and working environment for ambitious students.

PhD Defense Mr. L. Abzianidze, MSc

Title: A Natural Proof System for Natural Language
Supervisor: Prof. J.M. Sprenger
Co-supervisor: Dr. R.A. Muskens


Natural language represents a device for communication where its phrases carry meanings. The same meaning can be expressed with several natural language phrases. Capturing this variation of natural language is a key for making machines understand natural language.

To account for this problem, the thesis proposes a novel automatized method of modeling semantic relations between natural language phrases. Given two phrases, a premise and a conclusion, e.g., (1) "this dissertation is boring" and (2) "not all PhD theses are interesting" respectively, the method can prove that (2) is entailed from (1). It can also recognize phrases with semantically contradicting or neutral meanings.

Instead of translating the semantics of natural language phrases in some formal language, which in itself is a complex task, the method employs a proof technique used for formal languages and adapts it to natural language. We automatized the method as a reasoning system and showed that on standard test datasets it achieves high scores comparable to the state-of-the-art results. In contrast to most existing reasoning systems, our system is able to process multiple premises. Advances in natural language understanding directly contribute to automated question answering and semantic search (opposed to a primitive word matching search).

Location: Cobbenhagen building, Auditorium (access via Koopmans building)

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When: 20 January 2017 14:00

Where: Route description Tilburg University campus