The Story of Tim and Casey

Tim and Casey are best buddies since high school. One day, after years, they meet up in a bar for some drinks, sharing their work life stories, cursing at their bosses ;). They’re working at a company named McRels Inc. It turns out that their jobs are very similar. Both of them are working with text, news to be exact. Tim’s main responsibility is reading news, then ordering every events happening in the news in a timeline, guessing whether an event comes after or before another event. Casey started working on his current job just recently. His job is to decide whether there is a causality between two events.

Tim: “So, when I am given a text Typhoon Haiyan struck the eastern Philippines on Friday, killing thousands of people, I should be able to guess that the struck happens before the killing.”
Casey: “Aaah, I see… For me, I must decide whether the struck caused the killing or not.”

Casey’s job seems to be easier since the decision is binary: yes or no (well, also to decide which one is the cause and which one is the effect), but it’s actually much more difficult than Tim’s. One reason is that, unlike Tim, Casey doesn’t have enough resources to learn how to decide on the causality. Moreover, the concept of causality is more abstract than temporal ordering.

Tim is very lucky, because he could participate in a challenge on guessing the event ordering. As we know, competition can lead people to perform their best—that is, it can improve their quality of performance 1) Paramita Mirza and Sara Tonelli. 2014. Classifying Temporal Relations with Simple Features. In Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, pages 308–317, Gothenburg, Sweden, April. Association for Computational Linguistics. . Unfortunately, Casey doesn’t get that chance.

First of all, Casey needs to build resources for learning on deciding the causality between events, so he hires minions to do that. He can only afford two minions since he’s low on budget.

The minions are not so smart, so he needs to set up guidelines for them to annotate causal information in text 2) Paramita Mirza, Rachele Sprugnoli, Sara Tonelli and Manuela Speranza. 2014. Annotating causality in the TempEval-3 corpus. In Proceedings of the EACL 2014 Workshop on Computational Approaches to Causality in Language (CAtoCL), pages 10–19, Gothenburg, Sweden, April. Association for Computational Linguistics. . Tim offers him to use his available resources, which is a collection of text already annotated with all events available in the text. Having the resources annotated with causal information, Casey can finally learn how to identify causality between events in text 3) Paramita Mirza and Sara Tonelli. 2014. An Analysis of Causality between Events and its Relation to Temporal Information. (to appear) in Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Dublin, Ireland. .

Since in theory, causality has a temporal constraint, that the cause happens before the effect, Tim and Casey have an idea to cooperate in order to improve their learning abilities. There still need to be some discussions for this idea, involving more meetings in a bar… with a lot of drinks, I suppose :).

P.S.: in case you don’t get the metaphors, this story is basically my PhD topic 4) Paramita Mirza. 2014. Extracting Temporal and Causal Relations between Events. In Proceedings of the ACL 2014 Student Research Workshop, pages 10–17, Baltimore, MD, United States, June. , where Tim and Casey are automatic systems for extracting temporal and causal relations, respectively. And the two minions are actually me and my advisor :D.

References

1.
  Paramita Mirza and Sara Tonelli. 2014. Classifying Temporal Relations with Simple Features. In Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, pages 308–317, Gothenburg, Sweden, April. Association for Computational Linguistics.
2.
  Paramita Mirza, Rachele Sprugnoli, Sara Tonelli and Manuela Speranza. 2014. Annotating causality in the TempEval-3 corpus. In Proceedings of the EACL 2014 Workshop on Computational Approaches to Causality in Language (CAtoCL), pages 10–19, Gothenburg, Sweden, April. Association for Computational Linguistics.
3.
  Paramita Mirza and Sara Tonelli. 2014. An Analysis of Causality between Events and its Relation to Temporal Information. (to appear) in Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Dublin, Ireland.
4.
  Paramita Mirza. 2014. Extracting Temporal and Causal Relations between Events. In Proceedings of the ACL 2014 Student Research Workshop, pages 10–17, Baltimore, MD, United States, June.

lookslikescanned.com: Beat the Bureaucrats!

How many times do you have to print some documents, sign, then scan them before sending the signed documents to the administration? How many papers have you wasted, while you can do everything digitally?

lookslikescanned.com is the answer! :)

You could add your signature in a PDF file without having to print the document (how?), then to make your PDF file looks like scanned, upload your document to lookslikescanned.com and it will scan the document for you.

Unfortunately, for now it only works for a single-page PDF file, but you could use services like www.splitpdf.com to split and merge multi-page PDF file. I’m sure soon lookslikescanned.com will also be able to scan multiple pages of PDF ;).

Save papers, save trees, save the world! :)

Stories from Home

I actually just came back from home, yes, home sweet home… Indonesia! :)

After I came back from Iceland trip, I only had 19 days to finish every work-related things that need to be closed, before my flight to Jakarta. Did I finish them? Of course… not. Most of the time I was relaxing at home, but there are times when I had to open my laptop, checking and sending emails, and worked until late at night. Those 14 days *actually 12 days, 2 days are wasted for travels forth and back* at home might feel so short, but at least I think I spent enough time with my dearest family and friends, catching up with their current lives, and also enough time to make bonds again with some of my cats :D. The time was very limited, so I’m so sorry for not being able to meet up with all of you, dear friends :(.

Trip to Solo and Yogya

Right after I arrived, the very next day I had to fly again to Solo, with my mom and my aunt. We spent one night in Solo and one night in Yogyakarta, before going back to Bogor the next morning. I thought we were there only for travelling, I mean like.. eating and shopping :D. It turned out that the trip was a pilgrimage trip, to pay a ‘visit’ not only to my mom’s grandparents, but also to our ancestors (the Javanese royals) at Kotagede and Imogiri royal graveyards -.-. To be able to get into the royal graveyards, it is mandatory to wear a traditional ‘costume’. Oh well, this part was actually quite fun, since I could pretend I lived centuries ago ;).

Not that I complain, but the whole experience was kinda… weird. It was already dark when we arrived in Imogiri, and note that it was Thursday night *Thursday night has this ‘ghostly’ connotation in Indonesia :D*. Walking around the graveyard at night, spreading around some flowers on graves of some kings I don’t even know, chanting some prayers for the ancestors… sounds creepy, isn’t it? :D

The next days were wholly dedicated to my family and cats :D. Thanks to them, I feel more refreshed now! I should go home more often, too bad my bank account doesn’t allow me to do so >.<

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The Cat and The Bear in Iceland

Halló! Cat is back!

I’ve been trying to write about this trip since a month ago :D. It wasn’t summer yet back then in Iceland, but the lands were getting greener, although it was still snowing for a day or two. The weather was really unpredictable, like.. stormy rain in the morning, then sunny sunshine in the afternoon. Anyway, it was a very cool trip! Figuratively and literally.

Yep, that was our driving route. Our rental car told us that we drove for around 2,166 km in total. Well, ehem, actually the bear did almost all of the driving, the cat helped for only around 40 km *on non-asphalt road when the bear was too lazy to drive slowly*. Considering that I’m a total beginner, and without any driving license, I’m so proud that I could drive that long, with the maximum speed of 60 km/hour :D.

Iceland, the land of ice and fire, where the gap between Eurasian and North American plates is apparent. Glaciers, geysers, fjords, volcano craters, steamy mud pots, waterfalls and geothermal spas are the jewels of the country. Everything looks… huge and vast. It seems like a whole different world to me. Right after I landed in the Keflavik airport, on my way to the city (Reykjavik), it felt like… I’m on Mars! Or moon :D. Although most of the time we were driving through a barren land, but even the barren land looks amazing with all the lava fields and sandar. Driving through glaciers and fjords was so difficult, because… we wanted to stop every minute to admire the breathtaking view :D. To support my blabbering, here you go, some pictures from the road trip…

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The Cat and The Bear: Puffin!

I really can’t wait for our next trip… to Iceland!

This Saturday the bear will start his summer school in Iceland, and I will be giving a presentation at a conference in Sweden. But after that… it’s time for a road trip! We’ll spend 8 days driving around the Iceland ring road, with the total length of 1,332 km.

The itinerary has been set, hotels are booked. Activities include.. natural steam baths *a lot of them! the bear needs to relax after submitting his thesis*, glacier hiking, waterfalls, and meet the puffy fluffy puffins! Well, ehem, according to Lonely Planet, puffin is also one of Icelandic delicacies, let’s see if I’ll be heartless enough to eat that cute animal.

At first we thought we’ll also meet the bear’s northern relatives… polar bears! But according to Lonely Planet it is very unlikely to meet them in Iceland. Even though sometimes a polar bear is seen floating around on an iceberg, it won’t stay long because the locals will shoot it :(.

We’ll travel there before the main season starts, so prices are still considerably low. But still, it’s not so easy to find cheap accommodation, sleeping-bag-accommodation is very common as a cheaper alternative. One night we’ll even stay in a container! :D

picture is taken from here

Unfortunately, we’ll miss the best time to see the northern light a.k.a aurora borealis, which is around February-March :(. Well, let’s hope we’ll be lucky enough to see it while we’re there..

So.. see you soon, puffins! :)