Short bio

Zornitsa Kozareva After leading and managing the AWS Deep Learning group at Amazon that was responsible for building and solving natural language processing and dialog applications (2016–2017), as of December 2017 Dr. Zornitsa Kozareva has taken a managerial position at Google. From 2014 to 2016 she was a Senior Manager at Yahoo! leading the Query Processing group that powered Mobile Search and Advertisement. Earlier, during the period 2009–2014, Dr. Kozareva wore an academic hat as Research Professor at the University of Southern California CS Department with affiliation to Information Sciences Institute where she spearheaded research funded by DARPA and IARPA on learning to read, interpreting metaphors and building knowledge bases from the Web.

Dr. Kozareva regularly serves as Area Chair and PC of top-tier NLP conferences. She has organized four SemEval scientific challenges and has published over 80 research papers. Dr. Kozareva is a recipient of the John Atanasoff Award given by the President of Republic of Bulgaria in 2016 for her contributions and impact in science, education, and industry; the Yahoo! Labs Excellence Award in 2014 and the RANLP Young Scientist Award in 2011.

Talk abstract

Building Conversational Assistants using Deep Learning

Over the years there has been a paradigm shift in how humans interact with machines. Today’s users are no longer satisfied with seeing a list of relevant web pages, instead they want to complete tasks and take actions. This raises the questions: “How do we teach machines to become useful in a human-centered environment?” and “How do we build machines that help us organize our daily schedules, arrange our travel and be aware of our preferences and habits?”. In this talk, I will describe these challenges in the context of conversational assistants. Then, I will delve into deep learning algorithms for entity extraction, user intent prediction and question answering. Finally, I will highlight findings on user intent prediction from shopping, movies, restaurant and sport domains.