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Title: Reasoning Myths about Language Models: What is Next? 

Speaker: Dan Roth, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: The rapid progress made over the last few years in generating linguistically coherent natural language has blurred, in the mind of many, the difference between natural language generation, understanding, and the ability to reason with respect to the world. Nevertheless, robust support of high-level decisions that depend on natural language understanding, and one that requires dealing with “truthfulness” are still beyond our capabilities, partly since most of these tasks are very sparse, often require grounding, and may depend on new types of supervision signals. I will discuss some of the challenges underlying reasoning and argue that we should focus on LLMs as orchestrators – coordinating and managing multiple models and special purpose agents. I will discuss some of the challenges and present some of our work in this space, focusing on supporting planning and a range of quantitative, visual, and spatial reasoning tasks.  


Bio: Dan Roth is the Eduardo D. Glandt Distinguished Professor at the Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania, and a VP/Distinguished Scientist at AWS AI. In his role at AWS Roth has led the scientific effort behind the first-generation Generative AI products from AWS, including Amazon, Titan Q Developer, Titan Models, and Bedrock, from inception until they became generally available. Dan is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, AAAI, and ACL. In 2017, Dan was awarded the John McCarthy Award; he was recognized for “for major conceptual and theoretical advances in the modeling of natural language understanding, machine learning, and reasoning.” He has published broadly in natural language processing, machine learning, knowledge representation and reasoning, and learning theory, was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR) and has served as a Program Chair and Conference Chair for the major conferences in his research areas. Dan has consulted on Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing topics and has been involved in several startups; most recently he was a co-founder and chief scientist of NexLP, a startup that leverages the latest advances in Natural Language Processing, Cognitive Analytics, and Machine Learning in the legal and compliance domains. NexLP was acquired by Reveal in 2020. Dan received his B.A Summa cum laude in Mathematics from the Technion, Israel and his Ph.D in Computer Science from Harvard University in 1995.

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