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StephanOepen edited this page May 30, 2018 · 66 revisions


The SynSem research group at the Oslo Center for Advanced Study (CAS) holds a working meeting on design decisions in broad-coverage meaning representation and inference. The meeting will be held from Monday, May 28, to Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at Quality Hotel Leangkollen just outside Oslo. Please note that the hotel web site is available in English, including instructions on how to get there from the airport; look towards the bottom of the page for the language selection. We expect to start the programme on Monday morning after breakfast, i.e. encourage everyone to travel to Oslo on Sunday already; on Wednesday, we will wrap up the meeting over lunch time (no later than 13:30), so that for most people it should be possible to still catch flights back home that day.


Name At OSL From OSL First Meal Last Meal Preferences
Lasha Abzianidze Sunday, 17:15 Wednesday, 17:20 Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Gosse Bouma Sunday, 20:15 (SK1470) Wednesday, 17:15 (SK1465) Monday, breakfast Wednesday, lunch
Johan Bos Sunday, 18:40 Thursday, 19:20 Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Cleo Condoravdi Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Dick Crouch Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Dan Flickinger Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Jerry Hobbs Saturday, 12:40 (SK822) Sunday, breakfast Wednesday, lunch
Jan Hajič Wednesday, 17:20 Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Dag Haug Monday, lunch Wednesday, lunch
Jan Tore Lønning Monday, lunch Wednesday, lunch
Stephan Oepen Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch seafood allergy
Valeria de Paiva Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Martha Palmer Sunday, dinner Wednesday, lunch
Adam Przepiórkowski Tuesday, breakfast Wednesday, lunch
Vigdis Broch Due Sunday, dinner Tuesday, lunch


Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements to Oslo and submit transportation receipts for reimbursement upon completion of the meeting. SynSem has earmarked up to EUR 1200 per participant traveling from outside Europe and up to EUR 400 per participant from within Europe; in case you find it impossible to make travel arrangements to Oslo within these limits, please make contact with Dag and Stephan as soon as possible. Accomodation and meals while in Oslo will be covered by SynSem directly.

Our meeting room is called Steilene, on one of the lower (cooler) floors of the newer, ‘grey’ building.

Please submit your receipts for travel (airfare and airport transfers) for reimbursement on-line no later than mid-June. After Friday, June 15, 2018, it will be impossible to process reimbursement requests.


We expect to prepare the programme collectively, with presentation (or maybe demonstration) and discussion slots as obvious building blocks. All participants are invited to (though not required) to present on their ongoing work, possibly in collaborating teams. In a first instance, we welcome suggestions for programme elements (of any type, not limited to the above examples), which we will collect incrementally.

Monday, May 28
9:30 10:30 Welcome, Problem Statement, Self-Introductions (Vigdis Broch Due, Cleo Condoravdi, Dag Haug, Stephan Oepen, Everyone)
11:00 12:30 Discussion: What Compositional Semantics Should and Should not do (Jerry Hobbs)
13:30 14:30 Kubb Tournament: Try-Ons (Daylight and Fresh Air)
14:30 16:00 Discussion: Really Difficult Natural Language Inference Problems (Johan Bos)
16:30 17:15 A Critical Review of the SICK NLI Data Set (Valeria de Paiva)
17:30 19:15 Excursion to Konglungoya
19:30 Dinner
Tuesday, May 29
9:00 10:30 Discussion: On the Interface between Grammatical Analysis and Semantic Interpretation (Dan Flickinger)
11:00 11:45 The Groningen Parallel Meaning Bank (Johan Bos)
11:45 12:30 Universal Semantic Tagging (Lasha Abzianidze)
13:30 14:30 Short Hike (Daylight and Fresh Air)
14:30 15:00 A brief Overview of Abstract Meaning Represetation (Martha Palmer)
15:00 15:30 Various Layers of Meaning Representation in a Dependency Tradition (Jan Hajic)
15:30 16:00 Towards Uniform Meaning Representation: Refining AMR (Martha Palmer)
16:30 17:15 Description Logics for Natural Language Inference (Dick Crouch)
17:15 18:00 Review of Individual Text–Hypothesis Pairs (Everyone)
19:00 Dinner
Wednesday, May 30
9:00 10:30 In-Depth Review of Selected Text–Hypothesis Pairs (Everyone)
11:00 11:30 Discussion: Broad-Coverage Lexical Resources and Logical Reasoning (Martha Palmer)
11:30 12:30 Conclusions: Answering Our Five Central Questions (Everyone)
12:30 13:30 Lunch

High-Level Questions

Some of the central questions we want to engage with are, across different traditions and frameworks

  • What properties should meaning representations have in order to facilitate inference?
  • What kind of information should lexical resources encode to facilitate inference?
  • What kinds of inferential relations are essential for textual inference?
  • How is ambiguity and underspecification factored in, e.g. of scope, word senses, anaphora?
  • Can we have ‘robust inference’? Does the notion even make sense?

Examples of Textual Inference Patterns

A selection of different types of ‘basic’ patterns from the so-called SICK dataset (used for Task 1 at SemEval 2014), by Jan, Martha, and Stephan:

  • [T] A woman is slicing an onion.
  • [H] An onion is being sliced by a woman. [entailment]
  • [T] A woman is slicing an eggplant.
  • [H] A woman is slicing a vegetable. [entailment]
  • [T] There is no woman slicing an onion.
  • [H] A woman is slicing an onion. [contradiction]
  • [T] The woman is dicing a carrot.
  • [H] A woman is slicing an onion. [neutral]
  • [T] A bride in a white dress is running.
  • [H] A girl in a white dress is running. [entailment]
  • [T] People are looking at some costumes gathered in the vicinity of the forest.
  • [H] People wearing costumes are gathering in a forest and are looking in the same direction. [neutral]
  • [T] A group of scouts are hiking through the grass.
  • [H] Some people are walking. [entailment]
  • [T] The brown horse is near a red barrel at the rodeo.
  • [H] The brown horse is far from a red barrel at the rodeo. [contradiction]
  • [T] A man who is playing is running with the ball in his hands.
  • [H] A player is running with the ball. [entailment]
  • The guitar is being played by the man.
  • The man is a guitar player. [entailment]
  • A man, a woman and two girls are walking on the beach.
  • Four people are walking on the beach. [entailment]
  • A man, a woman and two girls are walking on the beach.
  • A group of people is on a beach. [entailment]

Some arguably more challenging instances, collected by Cleo Condoravdi (the first from RTE):

  • [T] Romano Prodi will meet the US President George Bush in his capacity as the president of the European commission.
  • [H] George Bush is the president of the European commission.

[NYT of April 1, 2005]

  • [T] ABC News revealed today that Ted Koppel, the host of Nightline for 25 years, would leave the network before his contract expired in December.
  • [H] Ted Koppel left ABC before December 2005.
  • [T] ABC News revealed today that Ted Koppel, the host of Nightline for 25 years, left the network before his contract expired in December.
  • [H] Ted Koppel left ABC before December 2004.

Candidate analyses for the above in Abstract Meaning Representation (courtesy of Julia Bonn and Martha Palmer) and Simplified Tectogrammatical Trees (courtesy of Jan Hajič)

Open Issues