Martin Kay: Wikis


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Martin Kay is a computer scientist known especially for his work in computational linguistics.

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, he received his M.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1961. In 1958 he started to work at the Cambridge Language Research Unit, one of the earliest centers for research in what is now known as Computational Linguistics. In 1961, he moved to the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California, USA, where he eventually became head of research in linguistics and machine translation. He left Rand in 1972 to become Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. In 1974, he moved to the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center as a Research Fellow. In 1985, while retaining his position at Xerox PARC, he joined the faculty of Stanford University half-time. He is currently Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University and Honorary Professor of Computational Linguistics at Saarland University.



He was born in Great Britain and he studied linguistics and computational linguistics at Trinity College in Cambridge.

In the autumn, he generally teaches 182/282 "Human and Machine Translation" described in the catalog as follows: The process of translation by professional and amateur translators, and by existing and proposed machine-translation systems; what each might learn from the other. Prerequisite: advanced knowledge of a foreign language.

Recently, he has been teaching a similar course in the first ten weeks of the summer quarter at the University of the Saarland.

In the winter, at Stanford, he teaches 183/283 "Programming and Algorithms for Natural Language Processing". It is describes as follows: Construction of computer programs for linguistic processes such as string search, morphological, syntactic, and semantic analysis and generation, and simple machine translation. Emphasis is on the algorithms that have proved most useful for solving such problems.

His main interests are translation, both by people and machines, and computational linguistic algorithms, especially in the fields of morphology and syntax.


Kay worked at Rand Corporation, the University of California at Irvine and XEROX PARC. Kay is one of the pioneers of computational linguistics and machine translation. He was responsible for introducing the notion of chart parsing in computational linguistics, and the notion of unification in linguistics generally.

With Ron Kaplan, he pioneered research and application development in finite-state morphology. He has been a longtime contributor to, and critic of, work on machine translation. In his seminal paper "The Proper Place of Men and Machines in Language Translation," Kay argued for MT systems that were tightly integrated in the human translation process. He was reviewer and critic of EUROTRA, Verbmobil, and many other MT projects.

Kay is former Chair of the Association of Computational Linguistics and Chair of the International Committee on Computational Linguistics. He was a Research Fellow at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center until 2002. He holds an honorary doctorate of Gothenburg University. This year, Kay received the lifetime Achievement Award of the Association for Computational Linguistics for his sustained role as an intellectual leader of NLP research.

Achievements and honors

  • His achievements include the development of chart parsing and functional unification grammar and major contributions to the application of finite state automata in computational phonology and morphology. He is also regarded as a leading authority on machine translation.

the 2005 Association for Computational Linguistics' Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the permanent chairman of the International Committee on Computational Linguistics.


  • «A Life in Language». A speech given in acknowledgement of the Life-time Achievement Award at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 27 June, 2005.


  • Linguistics and Information Science (with Karen Spark Jones), Academic Press, 1973.
  • Natural Language in Information Science (edited with D. E. Walker and Hans Karlgren), Skriptor, Stockholm, 1977
  • Verbmobil: A Translation System for Face-to-Face Dialog (with John Mark Gawron and Peter Norwig), CSLI, Stanford, California, 1994.
  • An Introduction to Machine Translation. W. John Hutchins and Harold L. Somers. London: Academic Press, 1992.
  • Handbook of Computational Linguistics. Ruslan Mitkov (ed.). Oxford University Press, 2003. (Introduction.)

Selected papers

  • “Rules of Interpretation--An Approach to the Problem of Computation in the Semantics of Natural Language”, in Proceedings of the Second International Congress of the International Federation for Information Processing, 1962.
  • “A Parsing Procedure” Proceedings of the Second International Congress of the International Federation for Information Processing, 1962.
  • “A General Procedure for Rewriting Strings”, paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Machine Translation and Computational Linguistics, Bloomington, Indiana, 1964.
  • The Logic of Cognate Recognition in Historical Linguistics, RM-4224-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, July 1964.
  • A Parsing Program for Categorial Grammars, RM-4283-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, August, 1964.
  • Natural Language in Computer Form, RM-4390-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, November, 1964. (with T. W. Ziehe).
  • Large File in Linguistic Computing, P-3136, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, May 1965.(Presented at the U. S.-Japan Seminar on Mechanical Translation, New York, 1965).
  • The Catalog: A Flexible Data Structure for Magnetic Tape, RM-4645-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, October, 1965. (with T. W. Ziehe).
  • The Tabular Parser: A Parsing Program for Phrase-Structure and Dependency, RM-4933-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, July, 1966.
  • Computer Routines to Read Natural Text with Complex Formats, RM-4920-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, August, 1966. (with P. A. Graves, D. G. Hays, and T. W.Ziehe).
  • “Experiments with a Powerful Parser” in Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Automatic Language Processing, Grenoble 1967. Reprinted in American Journal of Computational Linguistics 1976:2.
  • “Standards for Encoding Linguistic Data” in Computers and the Humanities, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1967.
  • “From Semantics to Syntax” in Bierwisch and Heidolf (eds.) Recent Developments in Linguistics, Mouton, The Hague, 1968; also in Proceedings of the 10th International Congress of Linguists, Bucharest, 1970.
  • Computational Linguistics at RAND, P-4023, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, March, 1969. Computational Competence and Linguistic Performance, P-4093, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, May, 1969. (Presidential Address to the Association for Computational Linguistics).
  • The Computer System to Aid the Linguistic Field Worker, P-4095, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, May, 1969.
  • The MIND System: The Morphological Analysis Program, RM-6265/2-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, April, 1970. (with Gary R. Martins).
  • The MIND System: The Structure of the Semantic File, RM-6265/3-PR, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, June, 1970. (with Stanley Y. W. Su).
  • “Automated Language Processing” in Cuadra (ed.) Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Volume 6, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1971. (with Karen Spark Jones).
  • The MIND Translation System: a Study in Man-Machine Collaboration, Santa Monica, The RAND Corporation, March, 1972. (with Richard Bisbey).
  • “The MIND System” in Rustin, Randall (ed.) Natural Language Processing, New York, the Algorithmics Press, 1973.
  • “Automatic Translation of Natural Languages” in Language as a Human Problem: Daedalus, 1973.
  • “Syntactic Processing and the Functional Sentence Perspective” in Theoretical Issues in Natural Language Processing, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1975.
  • The Proper Place of Men and Machines in Translation. Proceedings of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service Seminar on Machine Translation, 1976. Reprinted in Machine Translation. vol 12 (1997).
  • “GUS: A Frame-Driven Dialog System”, (1977). Artificial Intelligence, vol. 8. (with D. G. Bobrow, R. M. Kaplan, D. A. Norman, Henry Thompson, and Terry Winograd).
  • “Functional Grammar”. in Theoretical Issues in Natural Language Processing II, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1977.
  • “Computer Aids in Translation” in Computer Support to Translation, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (1978).
  • “Functional Grammar”. in Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, Berkeley, California, 1979.
  • “When Meta-rules are not Meta-rules”, in Spark Jones, Karen, and Yorick Wilks, Automatic Natural Language Parsing, 1983.
  • “Functional Unification Grammar: A Formalism for Machine Translation” in Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 84), The Association for Computational Linguistics, 1984.
  • “Parsing in Functional Unification Grammar”, in Dowty, David R., Lauri Karttunen, and Arnold M. Zwicky, Natural Language Parsing, Cambridge University Press, 1985, reprinted in Grosz, Barbara J., Karen Spark Jones and Bonnie Lynn Webber, Readings in Natural Language Processing, Morgan Kaufmann, 1986.
  • “Parsing in Free Word Order Languages” (with Lauri Karttunen), in Dowty, David R., Lauri Karttunen, and Arnold M. Zwicky, Natural Language Parsing, Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • “Unification in Grammar”, in Dahl, V., and P. Saint-Dizier, Natural Language Understanding and Logic Programming, North Holland, 1985.
  • “The Dictionary of the Future and the Future of the Dictionary”, Pisa (1992).
  • “Theoretical Issues in the Design of a Translator's Work Station”, Proceedings of the IBM workshop on Computers and Translation, Copenhagen.
  • “Unification” in Rosner, Michael and Roderick Johnson (eds). Computational Linguistics and Formal Semantics. Cambrdige University Press, (1992).
  • “Text-Translation Alignment”, Computational Linguistics 19:1 (March 1993. With Martin Röscheisen).
  • “Regular Models of Phonological Rule Systems” (with R. M. Kaplan), Computational Linguistics 20:3 (September, 1994. With R. M. Kaplan).
  • “Chart Generation”, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Lingistics, Santa Cruz, California, 1996.
  • “Substring Alignment Using Suffix Trees”. Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing, Springer, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2004.
  • “Antonio Zampolli”, LREC Conference, Lisbon, 2004.

Course readings


  • Dr. Kay Martin has been honored by AdvancED with the AdvancED Innovation Award for her unparalleled leadership in creating and promoting innovative opportunities for the education community. Martin received the award on Monday, March 30, 2009, during the evening Recognition Dinner and Awards Gala held during the 2009 AdvancED Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
  • He also won the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award, of the ACL. A Life of Language

See also

External links



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