Maria Kelly '10 and Rachel Lee '10 Excel at
International Computer Science Competition
by Alisa Giardinelli
Computer science majors Maria Kelly '10 and Rachel Lee '10 received top honors at a competition recently held during the annual meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Every three years, the meeting hosts SemEval, an international competition in semantic evaluation during which researchers are invited to design solutions to current problems in computational semantics and to have their solutions compared against the solutions of other researchers from around the world.
"It's not only unusual for a small liberal arts college to participate," says Associate Professor of Computer Science Richard Wicentowski, "it's rare for undergraduates to participate at all. The main groups that participate are international research labs and top research universities."
Working with Wicentowski, Kelly and Lee submitted two different solutions to a problem in cross-lingual lexical substitution. In the task, they were given a sentence in English and a target word in that sentence and asked to provide the best possible translation(s) of that target word into Spanish.
Their systems placed first and second by a wide margin. The paper [pdf] they produced about their work was also accepted for publication.
With this year's performance, Wicentowski continues his success working with students at SemEval. In 2004, he participated in five tasks with Emily Thomford '04 and Adrian Packel '04, finishing first in two, second in two, and fifth in the last. Three years later, he and Phil Katz '07, Matt Singleton '07, George Dahl '08, and Anne-Marie Frassica '09 participated in three tasks.