CIS PhD student Trish Lichtenstein is co-organizing a workshop on metaphor and natural language processing at a prominent conference. The Second Workshop on Metaphor in Natural Language Processing takes place June 26, 2014 in Baltimore, MD, in conjunction with ACL 2014 (the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics). The workshop focuses on computational modeling of metaphor using state-of-the-art NLP techniques. Broadly, this includes cognitive, linguistic, and applied metaphor research within a variety of computational, formal, and quantitative frameworks. A new theme this year will be the computational processing of emotion and affect in metaphor, as well as processing of metaphor in social media.

When asked how this opportunity to organize a workshop relates to her own research, Trish noted:

“My research concentrates on cross-linguistic universals and variation in metaphor. I approach the problem from a few different perspectives: using corpus techniques to uncover the precise way in which metaphor usage varies across languages; using NLP techniques to look at parallel crosslinguistic distributions of words and phrases in context; and, using computational cognitive neuroscience techniques to model simulations of crosslinguistic differences in metaphor processing.”

She observed that computational methods tend to have a wide coverage, and to be efficient, accurate, and robust. That is to say, while other methods by necessity focus on metaphor usage within a particular domain (for example, economics), computational methods can look at patterns of usage across domains, extracting empirically valid metaphors even under noisy conditions.

She also shared:

“At the moment, I’m involved in organizing paper and poster submissions for the workshop. My co-organizers and I have a large program committee helping us to read and evaluate the submissions (which are still being accepted). After the submission deadline, we’ll be working together to decide which talks and posters best fit with the goals of the workshop. My collaborators inform me that this is the difficult part of the process. The fun and exciting bit comes in chairing talks during the workshop and preparing the proceedings for publication afterwards.”

Trish’s collaborators on the workshop are Beata Beigman Klebanov and Ekaterina Shutova.

Many CIS PhD students are known for their extracurricular adventures, from rock climbing to art and music. For Trish, in addition to connecting natural language processing and metaphor, she is also a local bridge champion. She just recently won the Sunday club championship at the Modesto duplicate bridge club!