During its 52nd annual meeting (Baltimore, June 25 2014), the Association for Computational Linguistics has awarded the 2014 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award to Robert L. Mercer.
Arriving at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in 1972, Bob Mercer took a chance in signing up to work in a new research group focusing on speech recognition. Rather than emphasizing the linguistic understanding of speech, the group advocated probabilistic and information theoretic approaches. Despite their lack of linguistic background, the group in rapid succession produced breakthrough after breakthrough in various areas of computational linguistics, including few statistical approaches in speech recognition, developing some of the first large probabilistic language models, and finally pioneering the use of statistical approaches to machine translation, the problem of translating from one language to another.
Bob Mercer and colleagues forcefully demonstrated the power of big data... Read More