My name is Jacob Johnson, and I am a student of Computer Science and Linguistics at the University of Utah. After learning German, I was fascinated with language, and discovered that making computers that can work with language as well as we do is not only very useful, but also fascinating!
My overarching research interest is the application of theoretical/experimental linguistics to natural language understanding, especially through formal language/automaton theory approaches and through making neural approaches less opaque.
I'm currently working with Ana Marasović of UtahNLP on applying Instance Bundles and CondaQA, the first English reading comprehension dataset which requires reasoning about the implications of negated statements, to improve robustness of negation processing. I also contributed to a replication of "Exposing Individuals to Foreign Accent Increases their Trust in What Nonnative Speakers Say" (Boduch-Grabka & Lev-Ari, 2021) with Rachel Hayes-Harb of the Speech Acquisition Lab, and am continuing in the Speech Lab with a study on Multi-Talker word learning!
Last summer, I started a project in the Mathematics of Language and Cognition Lab under the direction of Aniello De Santo of the University of Utah Department of Linguistics. I am working with MITSL (subregular) grammars, implementing and evaluating grammatical inference algorithms to learn them transparently from positive data, and we are now extending this implementation to be "online" (i.e. learning from one instance at a time instead of in one batch).
I spent Spring 2022 semester making a relation extraction system (This link is currently down because I'm TAing for the class I made it for. Feel free to email me if you're curious) to detect drug-drug interactions. This was a term project in CS6390 Information Extraction from Text, taught by Ellen Riloff.
This is also my fifth consecutive semester as a Teaching Assistant. After three semesters TAing for CS2420 (Intro to Algorithms and Data Structures), and then for CS5340 Natural Language Processing taught by Ellen Riloff, I am now TAing for CS6390 Information Extraction taught by Ellen Riloff and CS4150 Algorithms taught by Hari Sundar.