In 2009, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated what was intended to be a 5-year project (though in the end, it lasted only 3) aimed at exploring the principles behind the design and implementation (at least in prototype form) of systems that could take more-or-less arbitrary "factually informative" English text and understand it. I had the honor and privilege of being the Principal Investigator of the SRI-led team, one of three large teams in the Program. That privilege meant I didn't really have to do any actual work, beyond (i) being ultimately responsible for the progress of the team and for reporting said progress to DARPA and (ii) that honor mean I was free to think large-ish thoughts about how one should conceive of the goals of such a project and how to put our team's approach, focused on large-scale joint inference, into a wider research context. I promise I will not talk about (i) in this seminar; so if you've read and understood this abstract, you should know what I will be talking about.
DAVID J. ISRAEL Director of the Natural Language Program Artificial Intelligence Center Information and Computing Sciences Division SRI International