HATE COVID-19.PT: a project that will automatically detect online hate speech in Portuguese
Direct verbal insults. Offensive and insulting words with intent to depreciate. Physical threats to the lives of others or their families. Statistics show that Covid-19 has led to an increase in hate speech.
Several European and international institutions have issued recommendations on combating racism, xenophobia and homophobia, also alerting to the low level of report and participation. Covid-19 has led to an increase in hate speech towards already vulnerable communities. In response to this problem, FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, created a special support – “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the crimes of incitement to hatred and violence and in hate speech”. One of the projects selected includes a Técnico/INESC-ID research team, led by professor Paula Carvalho (Department of Computer Science and Engineering – DEI).
The main objective of the project “HATE COVID-19.PT -Detecting Overt and Covert Hate Speech in Social Media” is to automatically detect online hate speech in Portuguese. “On the one hand, it is a priority to invest in languages such as Portuguese, whose linguistic resources for mapping hate speech are still quite scarce”, explains professor Paula Carvalho. “On the other hand, we intend to analyse this phenomenon in the Portuguese online community, taking into account the temporal dimension, in order to understand the impact of the pandemic on hate speech, on social networks”, adds the professor.
The research team intends to study the dynamics of this phenomenon in a specific context, that is why the analysis of hate speech will focus on the pandemic period. “This project will be crucial to assess whether, in fact, the current circumstances have significantly boosted this phenomenon”, and to identify the main targets of hate speech in Portugal, in pandemic times.
The project, which started on 1st May, will last 10 months and results from a partnership between INESC-ID (proponent entity), Lusa News Agency and the Portuguese National Cybersecurity Center (CNCS). The project has received a total funding of €35,892.
This project involves the creation of a large annotated corpus from social media, covering the Covid-19 pandemic, which will support the development of a machine learning prototype to detect hate speech and assess its explicitness and intensity, considering the time period and geolocation data. “This prototype will be available to the community, and it can be explored by linguists, communication and social sciences experts, media professionals, among others, in order to monitor, analyse and assess the evolution of hate speech on social media”, says the DEI professor.
The importance of enhancing the Portuguese language in this field
The research team involved in “HATE COVID-19.PT” has been focusing on issues that are directly or indirectly related to hate speech, more precisely “irony detection in the media” and, more recently, “the identification of strategies for detecting misinformation, in general, and on social media, in particular”, says professor Paula Carvalho.
According to the INESC-ID researcher “most studies have focused on direct hate speech, usually including insulting words or expressions”. “Users often express themselves – in an indirect or underhanded way – through linguistic and rhetorical strategies, which difficult speech explicitness”, stresses the Técnico professor.
“Our team brings together multidisciplinary researchers: natural language processing, artificial intelligence and communication sciences”, says professor Paula Carvalho.
In addition to professor Paula Carvalho, who is a linguist and works with natural language processing, other INESC-ID scientists are involved in natural language processing and artificial intelligence, as well as a social scientist/DEI professor with an interest in digital media and man machine interaction. Some of these researchers are currently involved in the Contrafake project.
Knowledge is a major weapon against hate speech
According to ECRI annual report 2020, racism, racial discrimination and intolerance are growing. “I believe that knowledge is the most effective response to prevent these phenomena”, highlights the INESC-ID researcher. “Therefore, these initiatives promoting research and the advancement of knowledge in such crucial areas are essential to stop this type of crime”, she adds.
Although the project has an exploratory nature, the team is confident “the results will allow the academic community to monitor and deepen the progress of hate speech, thus promoting the development of research in various areas that focus on this issues”. “In our opinion, the analysis of subsequent studies may guide policy makers and protect the most affected groups”, adds the professor.
Source: Instituto Superior Técnico
11th Lisbon Machine Learning Summer School
LxMLS 2021 will take place July 7th to July 15th in online format (via zoom and slack). It is organized jointly by Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), a leading Engineering and Science school in Portugal, the Instituto de Telecomunicações, the Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa (INESC-ID), Unbabel and Cleverly.
Click here for information about past editions (LxMLS 2011, LxMLS 2012, LxMLS 2013, LxMLS 2014, LxMLS 2015, LxMLS 2016, LxMLS 2017, LxMLS 2018, LxMLS 2019, LxMLS 2020) and to watch the videos of the lectures (2016, 2017, 2018, 2020).
Call for Participation
* Application Deadline: May 15, 2021
* Decision: June 1, 2021
* Early Registration: June 15 – July 1, 2021
* Summer School: July 7 – 15, 2021
Topics and Intended Audience
The school will cover a range of Machine Learning (ML) topics, from theory to practice, that are important in solving Natural Language Processing (NLP) problems that arise in the analysis and use of Web data.
Our target audience is:
- Researchers and graduate students in the fields of NLP and Computational Linguistics;
- Computer scientists who have interests in statistics and machine learning;
- Industry practitioners who desire a more in depth understanding of these subjects.
Features of LxMLS:
- No deep previous knowledge of ML or NLP is required, but the attendants are assumed to have some basic background on mathematics and programming
- Lecturers are leading researchers in machine learning and natural language processing (see speakers)
- Days are divided into morning lectures and afternoon lab sessions and practical talks (see schedule)
- The Labs guide will be provided one month in advance. Last year’s guide can be found here
- A day zero is scheduled to review basic concepts and introduce the necessary tools for implementation exercises
- Both basic (e.g linear classifiers) and advanced topics (e.g. deep learning, reinforcement learning) will be covered
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the 11th Lisbon Machine Learning School will be held online (via zoom and slack). Similar to last year, we are excited for the opportunity to create a virtual school, where you will be able to attend all the lectures, and participate in the Q&As and labs remotely. We will also provide the tools for students to engage with each other remotely. The lectures will also be streamed to YouTube, and will become freely available later in our YouTube channel. The Q&A, labs and social activities will remain restricted to the accepted students only.
List of Confirmed Speakers
LUIS PEDRO COELHO Fudan University | China
MÁRIO FIGUEIREDO Instituto de Telecomunicações & Instituto Superior Técnico | Portugal
ANDRE MARTINS Instituto de Telecomunicações & Unbabel | Portugal
IRYNA GULEYVICH Technical University Darmstat | Germany
NOAH SMITH University of Washington & Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence | USA
SLAV PETROV Google Inc. | USA
XAVIER CARRERAS dMetrics | USA
GRAHAM NEUBIG Carnegie Mellon University | USA
BHIKSHA RAJ Carnegie Mellon University | USA
CHRIS DYER Google Deep Mind | UK
ELIAS BARENBOIM Columbia University | USA
ADELE RIBEIRO Columbia University | USA
STEFAN RIEZLER Institut für Computerlinguistik, Universität Heidelberg | Germany
BARBARA PLANK IT University of Copenhagen | Denmark
SASHA RUSH Cornell Tech | USA
Please visit the webpage for up to date information: http://lxmls.it.pt/2021
To apply, please fill the form in https://lisbonmls.wufoo.com/forms/application-form-lxmls-2021/
Any questions should be directed to: email@example.com.
OLISSIPO – Inaugural Workshop on Computational Cell Biology
OLISSIPO is pleased to host the project Inaugural Workshop on Computational Cell Biology, which will be held virtually on July 20th, 2021 just before ISMB/ECCB 2021.
OLISSIPO – Inaugural Workshop on Computational Cell Biology
20th July 2021 | ONLINE WORKSHOP
14:00-18:00 (CEST) / 13:00-17:00 (WEST – Lisbon)
14:10 Prof. Dr. Rolf Backofen, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany
15:00 Prof. Dr. Susan Holmes, Stanford University, USA
16:20 Prof. Dr. Dana Pe’er, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, SKI, New York, USA
17:10 Prof. Dr. Luay K. Nakhleh, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
18:00 Closing session
The registration is free but necessary for organizational purposes.
To receive the link for the Workshop, please register here until 16 July 2021.
More info: https://olissipo.inesc-id.pt/2021/06/07/inaugural-workshop/
International European Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing
The 27th International European Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing (Euro-Par 2021) will take from August 30 to September 3 2021 in Lisbon.
Euro-Par is the prime European conference covering all aspects of parallel and distributed processing, ranging from theory to practice, from small to the largest parallel and distributed systems and infrastructures, from fundamental computational problems to full-fledged applications, from architecture, compiler, language and interface design and implementation, to tools, support infrastructures, and application performance aspects.
The 2021 edition of Euro-Par will be organized as a collaboration between INESC-ID and Instituto Superior Técnico (IST).
– Abstract Submission: February 5, 2021
– Paper Submission Deadline: February 12, 2021
– Author Notification: April 30, 2021
– Camera-Ready Papers: June 6, 2021
More information is available here.