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Natural Language Processing studies the computational models that underlie the processing of human languages, and develops key technology that allows users to interact with computers using English or Italian rather than a programming language. One of the many challenges is to develop interactive applications where users can hold a natural conversation with a computer. This has been the focus of the  NLP laboratory at UIC for many years, especially as concerns the computational modeling of extended text (discourse) and conversations between two or more agents (dialogue).  In the last 15 years, the lab has pursued what could be called NLP with a purpose: interfaces whose core is NLP technology and that have the potential of positively affecting society. In this vein, we have explored three main strands of research, briefly described below:

  • Natural Language interfaces for educational technology
  • Summarization and recommender systems, including in the health sciences
  • Human-robot interaction