alexis palmer
Dr. Alexis M. Palmer

Postdoctoral researcher,
Computational Linguistics and Phonetics, Saarland University
Building C7.2, Room 2.08
phone: +49-681-302-70027
email: apalmer@coli.uni-saarland.de

my CV (May 2014)

Teaching (Summer Semester 2014)
Recent Developments in Computational Discourse Processing    
co-teaching with Annemarie Friedrich

Einführung in die Pragmatik und Diskurs    
co-teaching with Andrea Horbach



Research (needs updating)
In a broad sense, my research aims to improve performance in natural language processing by developing more linguistically-informed approaches and models, drawing on my background as a linguist, particularly in the areas of syntax, semantics and discourse. I have two main areas of research: computational linguistics for low-resource languages (CL4LRL), and computational discourse and semantics.

Computational linguistics for low-resource languages
Methods developed for languages with extensive digital resources are not straightforwardly applicable to under-studied languages, and attempts to adapt such methods raise an obvious-sounding but crucial underlying issue: we will never have the amount of data for these languages that we do for more widely-studied languages. We need to make clever use of the resources we have, considering how to fold linguistic information into data-driven models. My interests in this area are both theoretical and practical, and I am especially interested in the particular low-resource case of endangered language documentation and description. At present, I am interested in facilitating creation of new language resources as well as improving our capacity to develop tools for linguistic analysis of a new language using minimal amounts of data.


Computational discourse and semantics
In this area my recent work has been on semantic role labeling (SRL), mostly in the FrameNet paradigm. Recent work has focused on the interaction between discourse level information and semantic argument structure, aiming both to improve the robustness of SRL approaches and to incorporate more context for labeling individual sentences. In addition to SRL, I work on the automatic classification of situation entities in text, as a step toward better machine handling of discourse-related information.

Other research interests
Other areas of interest include syntax and semantics of Ojibwe (an Algonquian language), grammar engineering (see the OpenCCG project), machine learning and active learning, structure of discourse and the discourse-syntax interface, indigenous languages of the Americas, and relationships between language and music.


PhD thesis    
Semi-Automatic Annotation and Active Learning for Language Documentation (defended October 2009)
My dissertation work uses machine learning and NLP techniques, including active learning, in the context of the documentation and description of endangered languages. With supervisors Jason Baldridge and Katrin Erk and colleague Taesun Moon, I worked on methods for decreasing the time and effort needed to produce interlinear glossed text (IGT) from transcribed texts in language documentation projects. This work was done in part under the auspices of the EARL (Efficient Annotation of Resources by Learning) project.



Publications, presentations, other activities
2014
* Annemarie Friedrich and Alexis Palmer
   Automatic prediction of aspectual class of verbs in context
   to appear, ACL 2014, Baltimore, Maryland

* Annemarie Friedrich and Alexis Palmer
   Situation entity annotation
   to appear, The Linguistic Annotation Workshop VIII

* Alexis Palmer and Michaela Regneri
   Short-term projects, long-term benefits: Four student NLP projects for low-resource languages
   to appear, ACL 2014 Workshop ComputEL: The use of computational methods in the study of endangered languages

* Guy Emerson, Liling Tan, Susanne Fertmann, Alexis Palmer, and Michaela Regneri
   SeedLing: Building and using a seed corpus for the Human Language Project
   to appear, ACL 2014 Workshop ComputEL: The use of computational methods in the study of endangered languages

* Anjana Vakil, Maximillian Paulus, Alexis Palmer, and Michaela Regneri
   lex4all: A language-independent tool for building and evaluating pronunciation lexicons for small-vocabulary speech recognition
   to appear, ACL 2014 Demo Session

* Anjana Vakil and Alexis Palmer
   Cross-language mapping for small-vocabulary ASR in under-resourced languages: Investigating the impact of source language choice
   4th Workshop on Spoken Language Technologies for Under-resourced Languages, St. Petersburg, Russia

* Annemarie Friedrich, Marina Valeeva, and Alexis Palmer
   LQVSumm: A corpus of linguistic quality violations in multi-document summarization
   LREC 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland

* Andrea Horbach, Alexis Palmer, and Magdalena Wolska
   Finding a Tradeoff between Accuracy and Rater's Workload in Grading Clustered Short Answers
   LREC 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland

* Magdalena Wolska, Andrea Horbach, and Alexis Palmer
   Computer-assisted Scoring of Short Responses: The Efficiency of a Clustering-based Approach in a Real-life Task
   to appear, PolTAL 2014

2013
* Andrea Horbach, Alexis Palmer, and Manfred Pinkal
   Using the text to evaluate short answers for reading comprehension exercises
   *SEM (star-sem) 2013, Atlanta, Georgia

2012
* Alexis Palmer, Caroline Sporleder, and Linlin Li
   So to Speak: A Computational and Empirical Investigation of Lexical Cohesion of Non-Literal and Literal Expressions in Text
   Discours: Revue de linguistique, psycholinguistique et informatique, v.11
* Richard Littauer, Rory Turnbull, and Alexis Palmer
   Visualising Typological Relationships: Plotting WALS with Heat Maps
   LINGVIS Workshop at EACL 2012, Avignon

2011
* Alexis Palmer, Afra Alishahi, and Caroline Sporleder
   Robust Semantic Analysis for Unseen Data in FrameNet
   RANLP 2011, Hissar, Bulgaria.
* Chenhua Chen, Alexis Palmer, and Caroline Sporleder
   Enhancing Active Learning for Semantic Role Labeling via Compressed Dependency Trees
   IJCNLP 2011, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

2010
* Alexis Palmer, Taesun Moon, Jason Baldridge, Katrin Erk, Eric Campbell, and Telma Can.
   Computational strategies for reducing annotation effort in language documentation.
   Linguistic Issues in Language Technology. 3(4):1-42, February 2010.
* Alexis Palmer and Caroline Sporleder
   Evaluating FrameNet-style semantic parsing: the role of coverage gaps in FrameNet
   COLING 2010, Beijing
* Ines Rehbein, Josef Ruppenhofer, and Alexis Palmer
   Bringing Active Learning to Life
   COLING 2010, Beijing
* Caroline Sporleder, Linlin Li, and Alexis Palmer
   Cohesive Links with Literal and Idiomatic Expressions in Discourse: An Empirical and Computational Study
   Presented at Multidisciplinary Approaches to Discourse 2010 (MAD 2010), Moissac, France
   Submitted to special issue of Discours

2009
* Alexis Palmer and Caroline Sporleder
  Situation entities and genre distinctions in the Penn Discourse TreeBank (abstract)
  Presented at TLS 2009, Austin, Texas
* Jason Baldridge and Alexis Palmer
  How well does active learning actually work? Time-based evaluation of cost-reduction strategies for language documentation,
  EMNLP 2009, Singapore
* Alexis Palmer, Taesun Moon, and Jason Baldridge
  Evaluating automation strategies in language documentation,
  NAACL HLT 2009 Workshop on Active Learning for Natural Language Processing, Boulder, CO
* Invited working group participant and co-chair, Cyberling 2009,
  Workshop at LSA 2009 Summer Institute, Berkeley
* Talk given at FEAST, Saarbrücken (slides)
  Computational linguistics and language documentation: evaluating automation strategies for documenting endangered languages

2008
* Nicholas Gaylord, Stephen Hilderbrand, Alexis Palmer, and Elias Ponvert, eds.
   Proceedings of TLSX 2006: Computational Linguistics for Less-Studied Languages, CSLI: Stanford, CA

2007
* Alexis Palmer, Elias Ponvert, Jason Baldridge, and Carlota Smith
   A Sequence Model for Situation Entity Classification, ACL 2007, Prague
* Alexis Palmer and Katrin Erk
   IGT-XML: An XML format for interlinearized glossed text, ACL 2007 Linguistic Annotation Workshop, Prague
* Jason Baldridge, Sudipta Chatterjee, Alexis Palmer, and Ben Wing
   DotCCG and VisCCG: Wiki and Programming Paradigms for Improved Grammar Engineering with OpenCCG,
   Grammar Engineering Across Frameworks, workshop at LSA 2007 Summer Institute, Stanford
* Invited working group participant, Toward Interoperability of Language Resources,
   Workshop at LSA 2007 Summer Institute, Stanford

2006
* Pascal Denis, Eric McCready, Alexis Palmer, and Brian Reese, eds.
   Proceedings of TLS8: Issues at the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface, Cascadilla Press
* Co-chair, TLSX conference -- Computational Linguistics for Less-Studied Languages
* Invited working group participant, EMELD 2006: Tools and Standards: The State of the Art
* Invited working group participant, Digital Tools Summit in Linguistics
* Coordinator, 4th Workshop on Discourse Structure

2004
* Alexis Palmer, Jonas Kuhn, and Carlota Smith
   Utilization of Multiple Language Resources for Robust Grammar-Based Tense and Aspect Classification,
   LREC 2004, Lisbon
* Grammatical Inverse, Pragmatic Inverse, WAIL 2004, Santa Barbara, CA
* Co-organizer, TLS8 conference -- Issues at the semantics-pragmatics interface

2003
* Inverse Agreement, Argument Structure, and Hierarchy-Driven Phenomena in Ojibwe, WAIL 2003, Santa Barbara, CA



Teaching (Past)
LIN312: Language and Music   F05, F06, F08
This is a course of my own design on language and music. All course materials are available on Blackboard to students registered for the class. If you are interested in the course materials but do not have access to the Blackboard class site, please email me!
Fall08 Syllabus


LIN306: Introduction to the Study of Language   S04, F04
This is the department's introductory linguistics course. We cover topics from all of the major subfields of linguistics, and then some.


Teaching assistantships   F02, S05, S06
I have been a teaching assistant for graduate-level Syntax I, undergraduate-level semantics, and the undergraduate intro course.



Music and other interests
French horn

I play French horn with WindMachine (the Saarland University Big Band) and the Saarland University horn quartet. I used to play with the Austin Symphonic Band, a community wind ensemble.

Handbells
I (used to) play in the Austin Handbell Ensemble, a semi-professional community ensemble. It's unlike anything you've seen or heard before!

Yoga
These days I attempt my own at-home yoga practice. I used to do yoga at
Yoga Yoga, an Austin studio.



last modified: October 15, 2013