07 Sept 2016 - Tunde Adegbola: Seminar
From the Periphery Towards the Centre of the Information Society: Alt-i, NLP, HLT and African Languages
Advances in AI, particularly NLP and HLT continue to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of human-computer interaction. Unfortunately, relevant techniques required to appropriate these technologies for the peculiarities of most African languages are yet to be developed due to low awareness of the importance of HLT in the university systems of most African countries.
African Languages Technology Initiative (Alt-i) was set up to bridge this rather important segment of the digital divide. This talk highlights the activities of Alt-i over its short lifespan and presents some of the key research results obtained as well as some of the outcomes of these research efforts. The objective is to initiate dialogues aimed at international collaboration. It is expected that such collaboration will enable the contribution of knowledge derived from the diverse peculiarities of the over 2000 African languages, which represent about one-third of the language spoken in the world today to the global knowledge base.
Tunde Adegbola holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Wales (Swansea) and Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. As Executive Director of African Languages Technology Initiative (Alt-i), Ibadan, Nigeria, he leads a team of researchers in appropriating human language technologies for African languages. An adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Department of Systems Engineering in the University of Lagos and Associate Lecturer at the African Regional Centre for Information Science in the University of Ibadan, both in Nigeria, he teaches Artificial Intelligence and supervises Masters and Doctoral students in NLP and HLT related studies. Before Alt-i, he worked as a Research Scientist at Innovative Computing Group Inc. Ohio, USA, in the development of Cellular Automata Transform (CAT) as an innovative data modelling technology. He recently coordinated the localisation of Microsoft Windows and Office Suite for Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba; the three most widely spoken Nigerian languages.