Violet Peng (UCLA) “From Language Understanding to Creative Generation”

September 25, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm


Recent advances in data-driven approaches have demonstrated appealing results in generating natural languages in applications like machine translation and summarization. However, when the generation tasks are open-ended and the content is under-specified, existing techniques struggle to generate coherent and creative passages. This happens because the generation models are trained to capture the surface form (i.e. sequences of words), rather than the underlying semantics and discourse structures. Moreover, composing creative pieces such as puns, poems, and stories require deviating from the norm, whereas existing generation approaches seek to mimic the norm and thus are unlikely to lead to truly novel, creative composition. In this talk, I will present several of our recent works related to creative story and figurative language generation, emphasizing the importance of understanding and control for creative generation.


Nanyun (Violet) Peng is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to that, she spent three years at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, Center for Language and Speech Processing advised by Dr. Mark Dredze. Her research focuses on creative language generation, and the robustness and generalizability of natural language understanding, with works being featured in major tech media such as Wired and The Register.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering

Center for Language and Speech Processing
Hackerman 226
3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-2680

Center for Language and Speech Processing