Yulan He 

Yulan He, Professor in Natural Language Processing, King’s College London, UK 



Interpretable Natural Language Understanding

In recent years, we have witnessed the shift of paradigms in Natural Language Processing (NLP) from fine-tuning large-scale pre-trained language models (PLMs) on task-specific data to prompt-based learning. In the latter, the task description is embedded into the PLM input, enabling the same model to handle multiple tasks. While both approaches have demonstrated impressive performance in various NLP tasks, their opaque nature makes comprehending their inner workings and decision-making processes challenging for humans. 

In this talk, she will share the research undertaken in her group to address the interpretability concerns surrounding neural models in language understanding. This includes a hierarchical interpretable text classifier going beyond word-level interpretations, uncertainty interpretation of text classifiers built on PLMs, explainable recommender systems by harnessing information across diverse modalities, and explainable student answer scoring. Yulan will conclude their talk by offering insights into potential future developments in interpretable language understanding.


Yulan He is a Professor in Natural Language Processing (NLP) at the Department of Informatics in King’s College London, UK. She is currently holding a prestigious 5-year UKRI Turing AI Fellowship. Yulan’s research interests lie in the integration of machine learning and NLP for language understanding. She has published over 200 papers on topics including natural language understanding, model interpretability, machine reading comprehension, rumour veracity assessment, sentiment analysis, and biomedical text mining. She has received several prizes and awards for her research, including a SWSA Ten-Year Award, a CIKM Test-of-Time Award, and AI 2020 Most Influential Scholar Honourable Mention. She served as the General Chair for AACL-IJCNLP 2022 and a Program Co-Chair for EMNLP 2020. Yulan obtained her PhD degree in Spoken Language Understanding from the University of Cambridge, and her MEng and BASc degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.



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