Invited Talk


Task-Independent Sentence Understanding

Samuel R. Bowman, NYU

June 6th, 2019


This talk deals with the goal of task-independent language understanding: building machine learning models that can learn to do most of the hard work of language understanding before they see a single example of the language understanding task they're meant to solve, in service of making the best of modern NLP systems both better and more data-efficient. I'll survey the (dramatic!) progress that the NLP research community has made toward this goal in the last year. In particular, I'll dwell on GLUE—an open-ended shared task competition that measures progress toward this goal for sentence understanding tasks—and I'll preview a few recent and forthcoming analysis papers that attempt to offer a bit of perspective on this recent progress.


Bio: I have been on the faculty at NYU since 2016, when I finished my PhD with Chris Manning and Chris Potts at Stanford. At NYU, I'm a core member of the new school-level Data Science unit, which focuses on machine learning, and a co-PI of the CILVR machine learning lab. My research focuses on data, evaluation techniques, and modeling techniques for sentence understanding in natural language processing, and on applications of machine learning to scientific questions in linguistic syntax and semantics. I am an area chair for *SEM 2018, ICLR 2019, and NAACL 2019; I organized a twenty-three person team at JSALT 2018; and I earned a 2015 EMNLP Best Resource Paper Award and a 2017 Google Faculty Research Award.


Contact Info


  • Jonathan May, ISI, University of Southern California
  • Ekaterina Shutova, University of Amsterdam
  • Aurelie Herbelot, University of Trento
  • Xiaodan Zhu, Queen's University
  • Marianna Apidianaki, LIMSI, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay & University of Pennsylvania
  • Saif M. Mohammad, National Research Council Canada

Email Note that this is the mailing list for SemEval organizers. For questions on a particular task, post them at the *task* mailing list or contact the task organizers directly. You can find the task mailing list from the task webpage.

Other Info


  • 2019/5/1: Our workshop program and proceedings are available now. Please click here for program, and click here for proceedings. They are also available under the "Workshop" menu.
  • 2019/2/17: We are excited to announce that Sam Bowman from NYU will give a keynote at the workshop. Please click here for details.
  • 2019/2/6: For visa application, you can visit NAACL-2019 Participants Webpage. At the bottom of the page, you can find the visa letter request form.
  • 2018/12/6: SemEval-2019 will be held June 6-7, 2019 in Minneapolis, USA, collocated with NAACL-HLT 2019.
  • 2018/9/4: Microsoft is co-sponsoring SemEval! More