Aug. 14, 2013

Computer scientist Lillian Lee named AAAI Fellow

Lillian Lee ’93, professor of computer science, has been named a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) – a lifetime honor – for significant contributions to the theory and practice of artificial intelligence through her work in natural language processing, including sentiment analysis and drawing connections to the social sciences.

Fellows are honored for providing intellectual leadership and making significant research or service contributions to the field, usually over a period of at least a decade or more. Lee’s research, she says, seeks “to enable computers to use human language as a (one-way or two-way) communication medium accurately, robustly and gracefully.” She has collaborated with other Cornell faculty members in using computer analysis of language in Internet postings to conduct social science research, covering such topics as predicting votes from Congressional speeches, what influences Amazon helpfulness votes, how language echoing reveals power relationships between people, and what makes a quote memorable.

“Understanding language is really hard, not just because of understanding the structure of language part,” Lee said in a recent lecture. “It also involves understanding things about what human beings want.”

Founded in 1979, AAAI is a nonprofit scientific membership society devoted to advancing the science and practice of artificial intelligence. AAAI sponsors numerous conferences, workshops and symposia each year.