Computer scientist Marilyn Walker honored by Association for Computational Linguistics

Marilyn Walker
Marilyn Walker (photo by C. Lagattuta)

Marilyn Walker, professor of computer science at UC Santa Cruz, has been named a fellow of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).

The ACL Fellows program recognizes members for extraordinary contributions to the field. Walker was honored "for fundamental contributions to statistical methods for dialog optimization, to centering theory, and to expressive generation for dialog."

Walker is head of the Natural Language and Dialogue Systems Lab in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. Her current research includes work on computational models of dialogue interaction and conversational agents; analysis of affect, sarcasm and other social phenomena in social media dialogue; acquiring causal knowledge from text; conversational summarization; interactive story and narrative generation; and statistical methods for training the dialogue manager and the language generation engine for dialogue systems.

Before coming to Santa Cruz in 2009, Walker was a professor of computer science at the University of Sheffield. From 1996 to 2003, she was a principal member of the research staff at AT&T Bell Labs and AT&T Research, where she worked on the AT&T Communicator project, developing a new architecture for spoken dialogue systems and statistical methods for dialogue management and generation. Walker has published more than 200 papers and has 10 U.S. patents granted or pending. She earned a B.A. in computer and information science at UC Santa Cruz, M.S. in computer science at Stanford University, and M.A. in linguistics and Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) is the premier international scientific and professional society for people working on computational problems involving human language, a field often referred to as either computational linguistics or natural language processing.