Bowen Zhou (IBM, T.J. Watson Research Center) “Recent Advances of Deep Learning for Question Answering”

March 29, 2016 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Hackerman Hall B17
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21218


Question Answering (QA) is one of the most exciting areas in artificial intelligence today, aiming at augmenting human’s cognitive capabilities with computing systems that are capable of generating meaningful and insightful answers to questions in natural language, which ultimately help human reason and make decisions more effectively.

In this talk, I will present a few recent results from my group that have advanced QA using a variety of new models based on deep learning, which includes improved representation learning for passage-based non-factoid QA, and a novel two-way attention mechanism with neural networks. Our two-way attention mechanism is a general framework independent of the underlying representation learning, and it has been applied to both convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks (RNNs) in our studies. I will also share a large-scale non-factoid QA data sets we created that researchers can use to benchmark their models and report progresses.

Time permitting, I will also overview our work around DL-based natural language generation, and the proposed structured memory architecture for general-purpose learning frameworks such as Neural Turing Machines.


Dr. Bowen Zhou leads IBM’s research efforts, across IBM Research and Watson Group, around the creation and application of new state-of-the-art statistical learning techniques, such as deep learning, tomake algorithmic advancements in the fields of question answering, natural language understanding, reading comprehension, knowledge acquisition, reasoning and decision making. Bowen also leads the development of cloud services exposing these capabilities in the IBM cloud, and enabling other researchers, developers and offerings to integrate these state-of-the-art algorithms.

Since he joined IBM Research in 2003, Bowen has held a number of positions in research and management. He has published more than 80 papers in the fields of speech recognition, machine translation, speech-to-speech translation, natural language understanding, deep learning and question answering. Bowen was the main technical contributor, and later the leader, of the IBM’s speech translation technologies. He has also served as the Principal Investigator for a number of large-scale research projects funded by DARPA and others since 2008. He has received numerous technical awards at IBM including a number of Outstanding Innovation Awards, Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, and the “Best of IBM” award in 2015.

Bowen has been active in both IEEE and ACL communities. He was elected to serve in the IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee for 2010-2015. He has been an Associate Editor for IEEE/ACM Transactions Audio, Speech and Language Processing since 2013. He has also frequently served as the Area Chairs for ICASSP and NAACL et al., and as the invited speakers and panelists at international conferences such as Interspeech and NAACL.

Center for Language and Speech Processing