The Priberam Machine Learning Lunch Seminars are a series of informal meetings which occur every two weeks at Instituto Superior Técnico, in Lisbon. It works as a discussion forum involving different research groups, from IST and elsewhere. Its participants are interested in areas such as (but not limited to): statistical machine learning, signal processing, pattern recognition, computer vision, natural language processing, computational biology, neural networks, control systems, reinforcement learning, or anything related (even if vaguely) with machine learning.

The seminars last for about one hour (including time for discussion and questions) and revolve around the general topic of Machine Learning. The speaker is a volunteer who decides the topic of her presentation. Past seminars have included presentations about state-of-the-art research, surveys and tutorials, practicing a conference talk, presenting a challenging problem and asking for help, and illustrating an interesting application of Machine Learning such as a prototype or finished product.

Presenters can have any background: undergrads, graduate students, academic researchers, company staff, etc. Anyone is welcome both to attend the seminar as well as to present it. Ocasionally we will have invited speakers. See below for a list of all seminars, including the speakers, titles and abstracts.

Note: The seminars are held at lunch-time, and include delicious free food.

Feel free to join our mailing list, where seminar topics are announced beforehand. You may also visit the mailing list webpage. Anyone can attend the seminars; no registration is necessary. If you would like to present something, please send us an email.

The seminars are usually held every other Tuesday, from 1 PM to 2 PM, at the IST campus in Alameda. This sometimes changes due to availability of the speakers, so check regularly!

Tuesday, June 28th 2016, 13h00 - 14h00

Fabio Kepler (L2F / University of Pampa, Brazil)

A Web Tool for Building Parallel Corpora of Spoken and Sign Languages

Anfiteatro do Complexo Interdisciplinar

Instituto Superior Técnico - Alameda


Sign languages are the main way of communication in the Deaf community and with the listening population. There are about 70 million deaf people and over 200 distinct sign languages in the world. Unfortunately, not all deaf know a sign language, and many cannot read or write in a spoken language. Moreover, when there is prelingual deafness, a sign language becomes the children's native language, and a spoken language is hard to learn as a second language. This affects their learning in school, where there is usually no especial material in sign language. In this talk we will describe our work in building an online tool for manually annotating texts of spoken languages with sign languages, using the SignWriting system. The existence of such tool will allow the creation of parallel corpora between spoken and sign languages that can then be used to bootstrap the creation of efficient tools for the Deaf community. As an example, a parallel corpus between English and American Sign Language could be used for training Machine Learning models for automatic translation between the two languages. By building a collaborative, online, easy to use annotation tool we aim at helping the development of proper resources for sign languages that can be used in state-of-the-art models currently used in tools for spoken languages. There are several issues and difficulties in creating this kind of resource, and we will discuss the main ones as well as alternatives for building better resources.


Bio: Fabio Kepler is a professor (~assistant) in Brazil currently on a year-long sabbatical/postdoctorate at L2F/INESC-ID. He is interested in NLP problems in general, like POS tagging, parsing, sentiment analysis, and machine translation, and more recently became interested in a specific subset of the natural languages, namely the sign languages. He holds a PhD from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.