Alexander M. Fraser

Short Bio in Third Person

Alexander Fraser is an associate professor at the Center for Information and Language Processing, LMU Munich, where he leads the statistical machine translation group. Before that, he led the statistical machine translation group at the Institute for Natural Language Processing at the University of Stuttgart.

He holds an ERC Starting Grant and is PI of the Horizon 2020 "Health in my Language" project. He was PI of a German Research Foundation project on modeling morphosyntactic phenomena in machine translation, and deputy PI in the FP7 project, "TTC - Terminology Extraction, Translation Tools and Comparable Corpora". His main research interests are in statistical and hybrid approaches to machine translation, syntactic parsing and information retrieval.

Alex obtained a PhD in 2007 from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California. His PhD research was conducted at the Information Sciences Institute. In addition to his academic work, Alex has worked at Language Weaver, where he developed the first commercially-available statistical machine translation system, and at BBN Technologies, where he worked on Arabic monolingual and cross-language information retrieval.

Long Bio in First Person

I am an associate professor at the Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS), LMU Munich, where I lead the statistical machine translation group. Before this, I led the statistical machine translation group at the Institute for Natural Language Processing (IMS), University of Stuttgart.

I hold an ERC Starting Grant and am a PI in the Horizon2020 project Health in my Language. I was also PI of the DFG project Models of Morphosyntax for Statistical Machine Translation which is on modeling morphosyntactic phenomena in statistical approaches to machine translation. I have also been deputy PI in the EU FP 7 project, TTC - Terminology Extraction, Translation Tools and Comparable Corpora. Before that, I worked with Hinrich Schuetze in the SFB 732 research project, from November 2007 through September 2009, where I focused on syntactic parsing.

I defended my PhD in July, 2007. I was in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California, which is located in Los Angeles. The topic of my dissertation was "Improved Word Alignments for Statistical Machine Translation" and my advisor was Daniel Marcu. In addition to Daniel, Eduard Hovy, Gareth James, Kevin Knight and Paul Rosenbloom were on my committee. I obtained my M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 2002, and my B.A. in Computer Science and Economics, with a concentration in Linguistics, in 1995 from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

During my PhD studies I worked on statistical machine translation in the Natural Language Group at the Information Sciences Institute in Marina del Rey (near Los Angeles). We used statistical models to implement machine translation from a variety of languages to English. I also worked on discourse analysis.

From June 2003 to May 2004 I worked at Language Weaver where I managed the development of a machine translation system which automatically creates high quality English translations of Arabic documents. This was the first commercially-available statistical machine translation system. Managing the transfer of research technology into a commercial product, which had to be robust, was a useful experience very different from the issues in academic laboratories.

In the summer of 2003, I took part in an interesting workshop on Syntax for Statistical Machine Translation at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Our group was led by Franz Och and Dan Gildea and our goal was to incorporate syntactic structure into a phrase-based statistical machine translation system. In the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to return to lead a group (together with Marine Carpuat, Hal Daume and Chris Quirk) working on the problem of Domain Adaptation in Statistical Machine Translation, which was a great experience.

I have also worked at BBN Technologies, in the Speech and Language Processing Group. My last project there was a cross-language information retrieval system where the queries were in English and the documents searched were in Arabic.

I used to work in the area of International Development, providing technical assistance to developing countries, and I am still strongly interested in this area and in development economics. I was the technical director at an NGO (non-profit) called SatelLife which involved work on ICTs for public health, including on location in a number of countries in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa, as well as Bolivia and Haiti.

Travel is one of my interests, I've spent significant time in Germany, Spain, France, Mexico, Yemen and Syria. I speak English, French, German and Spanish, so feel free to write me in any of these languages. You can also write in Arabic. I also have a personal web site which primarily contains information on studying Arabic that I gathered during my year-long stay in the Middle East in 1998.