Senior computer science major Shannon Lubetich '15 has been awarded first place in the ACM Student Research Competition (Undergraduate level) at Grace Hopper 2014, which took place in October, 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona. The title of her presentation was “Eve Eat Dust Mop”: Measuring Syntactic Development in Child Language with Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning".
Shannon's research was performed as part of a summer internship through NSF's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, under advisor Kenji Sagae, Assistant Professor at USC and Research Scientist at the Institute for Creative Technologies. She will continue this research as part of her senior thesis exercise for her Computer Science major this year.
She describes her research as follows: "We explored ways of measuring child language development that are completely automatic, data-driven, and language-independent. We first focused on automating a time-consuming metric that looks at the grammatical structure of language, which is more expressive and sensitive to later age changes than the metrics that are routinely used and easy to automate. Then, we moved to a data-driven approach of "scoring" the complexity of language by just using 4 simple syntactic feature templates and a support vector machine for classification. After proving the success of this concept, we moved to using the same data-driven approach to predict the age of a child from a transcript of their speech."
This is the second time in five years that a Pomona computer science major has won this research competition. In 2010, Sophia Yang '11 also won the competition with a presentation on her interdisciplinary research in computer science and biology.
Congratulations to Shannon!!