Our Blog

Generating Natural-Language Text with Neural Networks

Computers are illiterate. Reading requires mapping the words on a page to shared concepts in our culture and commonsense understanding, and writing requires mapping those shared concepts into other words on a page. We currently don’t know how to endow computers with a conceptual system rich enough to represent even what a small child knows, ...
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How we can use data to address the opioid epidemic

President Nixon declared the war on drugs in 1971. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50, with opioids accounting for most of the devastation. Can data science help? Data can provide hints about underlying truths, but it is not immediately clear how it can be applied ...
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Solve real world problems, every day

As a mathematician and Ph.D., my work involves projects for the Department of Defense. The work is rewarding and interesting, and provides variety each day. As a bonus I also get to mentor upcoming graduates who are fresh with excitement about their field of interest, and are evaluating all the opportunities before them with eager ...
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Big Data: Precognition in the mirror world

We want to know the present so that we can predict the future. When the ability to predict exceeds inferences that can be made with commonly accessible information, we call it precognition. The idea of precognition was made salient by the 2002 movie Minority Report. In that movie, there is a scene where one of ...
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Moving toward autonomous cyber defense

Cyber systems need intelligent defenses, and they are currently lacking. We have rote rules that specify how to protect our systems, but these rules can only protect against known attacks. We have methods for looking for unusual events, but these methods lack context and flag too many innocuous events as threatening. We even have machine ...
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What’s the big deal with network?

For the past six years I’ve been building programs that discover networks from various types of data. Why? Because as Laura said last week, what we do has had immediate applicability in helping our country solve incredibly hard and critical problems. But one may still wonder, why is the ability to discover networks amongst data ...
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Can computer understand human language?

In a previous post I discussed the goal of understanding our world through the mirror world of social media. Social media is a reflection of our culture because many discussions that used to happen face to face or via the telephone now occur on sites like Twitter and Facebook. These digitized conversations can be read ...
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Deep learning for natural language processing

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two blogs by Jonathan Mugan explaining how, and the degree to which, computers understand our language in programs including social media platforms. Before deep learning, the meaning embedded in the words we write was communicated to computers using human-engineered symbols and structures. My last blog post ( covered ...
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