On the 30th October Charles University in Prague awarded Professor Aravind Joshi the honorary title of doctor honoris causa in physics and mathematics. This was done in recognition of his achievements and contributions to his field of computational and formal linguistics. The ceremony was held in the Great Aula of the historic Carolinum Building. During this Professor Joshi made a speech expressing his gratitude for the award, he also told the story of how he came to Charles University in Prague during the late seventies to do guest lecturing among other things. The University gave him the award as a result of Professor Aravind's numerous achievements and publications within his field. Many of which have directly influenced research conducted at Charles University in Prague, furthering their progress in computational linguistics greatly.
Aravind Joshi was born on 5th August 1929 in Pune, India. He studied at first in his native country at the India Institute of Science before moving to America where he now currently resides. In 1960 he earned his Ph. D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. From then on he has been awarded many times, for example the IJCAI award for research excellence in 1997, the Rumelhart prize in 2003, and the Benjamin Franklin medal in 2005 the Rumelhart prize in 2003. He was also a founding member of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence.
To date his research concerns itself primarily with integrating languages with computers. Most of his research looks at how computers can be improved to have a better understanding and recognition of all languages. This is an exciting area of development as I am sure we have all encountered frustration at our computer's inability to recognise words we have typed or are searching for. Professor Joshi also is noted for the defining of the tree-adjoining grammar system which is very important for TAG systems in particular as part of the world of automatic programming of languages. He is also the author of hundreds of articles on his field and related topics.
Professor Aravind Joshi is also currently involved in a collaboration project with his own university and the faculty of Mathematics and Physics here at Charles University in Prague. The work is concerned with the creation of an annotated computer corpus and the analysis of discourse. Due to the projects success both universities are submitting proposals to extend the collaboration to 2015. Aside form this he also continues his Professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he became the co-founder of the Institute of Cognitive Science.
Keziah Garratt-Smithson is a second year student currently on an ERASMUS placement at Charles University in Prague. At home Keziah attends Aberystwyth University, where she studies medieval and early modern history. In her spare time she is a keen reader, loves films, and enjoys horse riding. She chose to write for the iForum because it was a great way to meet like minded individuals, whilst having fun and gaining useful work experience.