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Temasek Research Fellowship

Published on: 12-Oct-2015

From left: Guest-of-Honour Major General (NS) Ng Chee Khern together with Prof Quek Tong Boon presented Dr.Cambria with the Fellowship certificate.

On 13 May 2015, Assistant Professor Erik Cambria was awarded the prestigious Temasek Research Fellowship (TRF) for his research in Cognitive Science for Machine Intelligence. TRF is a scheme aimed at recruiting outstanding young researchers with Ph.D degree in science or technology. The one-million-dollar grant provides young researchers an opportunity to conduct and lead research that is relevant to defence over three years.

Gracing the occasion as Guest-of-Honour was Major General (NS) Ng Chee Khern, Permanent Secretary (Defence Development), Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), who presented Dr Cambria with the Fellowship certificate.

In his welcome address, Professor Barry Halliwell, NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology), touched on the potential of the fellowship. He said: “The Temasek Research Fellowship targets outstanding young researchers with PhD degrees in science or technology and provides them with an opportunity to conduct top-level research that is relevant to MINDEF’s aims. It is one of many initiatives by MINDEF that aim to build up research capacity and generate new ideas.”

The MINDEF-funded research grant accompanying the fellowship includes a possible three-year extension. Under the terms of the Fellowship, Dr Cambria will serve as the Principal Investigator in the area of Cognitive Science for Machine Intelligence. The TRF Joint Panel recognised Dr Cambria's research as “important to the field of natural language understanding”, and that his proposal “represents the next level of capabilities needed to realise machine intelligence and autonomy”. Dr Cambria will focus on further developing and applying sentic computing for machine learning in autonomous systems (e.g., for intelligent agents and robotic applications).

Sentic computing is a multi-disciplinary approach to natural language processing and understanding at the crossroads between affective computing, information extraction, and common-sense reasoning, which exploits both computer and human sciences to better interpret and process social information on the Web. In sentic computing, whose term derives from the Latin 'sentire' (root of words such as sentiment and sentience) and 'sensus' (as in common-sense), the analysis of natural language is based on linguistics and common-sense reasoning tools, which enable the analysis of text not only at document-, page- or paragraph-level, but also at sentence-, clause-, and concept-level.

In the context of this project, sentic computing will be exploited to understand sentiments and emotions in different modalities and different languages. Besides multimodal and multilingual sentiment analysis, the project will serve multiple purposes linked to sentiment mining, including human-robot interaction, emotional conversational agents, intention awareness, and domotics.

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