Data Science Invited Talk Series

Friday, September 22, 2017

1:30 PM2:30 PM

Lindley Hall, Room 102

Speaker: Kuansan Wang, Managing Director – MSR Outreach Innovation, Microsoft

Webinar Link:

Topic:Beating human in cognition: a case study of Microsoft Academic

Abstract: Cognition is defined as the "process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses," and often "encompasses processes such as knowledge, attention, memory, judgment, evaluation, reasoning and computation." Based on this definition, humans appear destined to be surpassed by machines equipped with massive memory with perfect recall and can remain attentive with perpetual endurance, and exercise judgments and reasoning by executing necessary computations in a much faster and precise fashion. With massive amount of data and computation powers, machine has made great strides in exhibiting intelligent behaviors. Has it beaten human in acquiring and utilizing knowledge yet? In this talk, I will describe Microsoft Academic, a research project to create a cognitive agent that can be simultaneously proficient in more than 50,000 fields of study by reading over more than a century’s worth of scholarly publications from the web. At the core of the agent is a virtuous cycle based on reinforcement learning where the machine is aided by a knowledge graph to extract salient entities and their relationships from publications that are then fed back to the knowledge graph to enrich its coverage and further improve machine-reading capabilities. Kuansan will show how the cognitive agent, currently at age two, can be publicly accessed, and how the knowledge accumulated has played a role in our daily activities inside Microsoft Research.

Bio: Kuansan Wang is a principal researcher and managing director of Microsoft Research Outreach where he is responsible for engaging with the global academic community on jointly advancing the state-of-the-art in the areas MSR conducts research. He is leading a team that conducts research on web-scale machine reading, intelligent inference, deep semantic analytics and user behaviour modelling. In addition to contributing to the development of Microsoft Bing and Cortana, the technologies developed at his team can also be seen in Microsoft Academic services that include a search engine at and the Academic Knowledge API available through Microsoft Cognitive Services. Dr. Wang joined MSR in 1998 as a researcher in speech technology group where he conducted research in language modelling and multimodal interactions. He then became a software architect for Microsoft speech product group, responsible for Microsoft Speech Server and Response Point, and represented Microsoft to W3C, ECMA and ISO to help author international standards in speech, language and communication areas. He returned to MSR to work on web search in 2007 and has been a key driving force to evolve web search from a keyword based to semantic based paradigm. Kuansan received his BS from National Taiwan University and MS and PhD as an NSF Fellow from University of Maryland, College Park, all in electrical engineering.


Scheduled for next week:

Speaker:Lisa Shaler,Deputy to Chief – Data Management Division, United States Army

Where: Lindley Hall, Room 102

When:  Friday - September 29, 2017 1:30 PM

Webinar Link:

Topic:Army Data Science Initiatives

Abstract: From humanitarian relief after natural disasters at home and abroad, to planning budgets, designing new vehicles, recruiting soldiers and civilians, planning operations, and analyzing cyber and intelligence events, the Army uses data science to analyze and evaluate options.  The goal is to give Army senior leaders the information needed to make difficult decisions.  Time required for these data science analyses can be sufficient, or can require quick, accurate responses.   Using effective data visualization to present data science results to clarify options and tradeoffs is essential.  Modern data science tools and cloud infrastructures enable the Army to build collaborative teams, solving complex problems together.

Bio: Lisa Shaler has supported Soldiers and the Army with technology for more than 20 years.  She led Army Intel with "Big Data" technology efforts including Analytics, Cloud Computing, and Cyber Security.  At the Army G-8 Program Analysis & Evaluation Directorate, she focuses on Data Migration to the Cloud, and the Army G-8 Data Science Pilot.  She earned master's degrees from MIT, National Defense University, and Virginia Tech.  Her research interests include computational social science and complexity studies.