The European Research Council has awarded a prestigious ERC Starting Grant to Dr. Fraser
Quote from the university's official press release:
The American computational linguist Dr. Alexander Fraser is a specialist in the field of automatic translation. Fraser’s background in computer science led him into the field of machine translation, and his ERC project is concerned with the design of computer programs that can learn to translate texts from one human language to another with the aid of statistical rules derived from the usage of natural language. "Computational linguists first approached the problem by formulating lots of rules which told the computer how to translate from a source text. We use a different strategy, in which the computer itself learns how to do the job," Fraser explains. Machine translation is currently based on a parallel corpus of texts in the source language and their translations into the target language. Hence the quality of the automatic translation is strongly dependent on the size of the available corpora. "Our new approach will make it possible to produce adequate translations of texts in domains of knowledge in which relatively few parallel texts exist, for example in the medical literature," says Fraser. Furthermore, the project not only promises to have a far-reaching impact on the field of machine translation, it will also have broad applications in other areas of machine learning.