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Assistant Professor Huan Sun awarded NSF CAREER Award

Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Huan Sun was awarded a NSF CAREER Award.

Prof. Sun's project will contribute a new, learnable interactive QA model, which will detect the ambiguities and uncertainties during the answering process and interact with users in a natural fashion to seek clarifications. Moreover, the QA model will learn from such interactions to simultaneously improve answer quality and reduce human intervention over time, using imitation and reinforcement learning based frameworks. This project will further advance the QA model with a novel question decomposition component, which decomposes a compositional question into simpler sub-questions and can enhance the transparency of the answering procedure by allowing users to validate the sub-questions (i.e., confirming or correcting the sub-questions). To effectively train the QA model with limited human cost (for providing feedback or training data), the team will explore new learning strategies such as designing user simulators and weak supervision mechanisms. When applying the QA model to the clinical domain, this project will develop novel solutions to domain-specific challenges, such as how to incorporate background biomedical knowledge into a general QA model and how to create high-quality clinical QA datasets at a low cost. The team will closely collaborate with doctors and physicians for model evaluation and actively seek technology transfer opportunities. All datasets, software and demos will be publicly accessible via the investigator's website. Potential research findings will be disseminated in computer science and medical informatics related venues and will be integrated into existing and new courses.