Seminars & Colloquia

Larry Birnbaum

Northwestern University

"How to Tell a Story"

Tuesday November 30, 2021 01:00 PM
Location: via Zoom only, NA Off-Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: This talk approaches data storytelling from a pragmatic perspective. What are the key objectives of a data-driven story? What are the key organizing principles for the mechanisms required to achieve these objectives? How should data and data analytics be marshaled in this effort? How can the results of relevant data analytics be “translated” into appropriate propositional interpretations, and ultimately linguistic terms? How can these interpretations be organized to produce a coherent story? These are the questions that need to be addressed in understanding the nature of data storytelling and, most likely, in developing successful data storytelling systems. This talk will provide some possible answers to these questions using specific examples.
Short Bio: Larry Birnbaum is Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, where he co-directs the Intelligent Information Laboratory, with a research focus on applied AI and human-AI collaboration. He and his students develop, study, and apply new technologies in natural language processing, intelligent information systems, social media data analytics, machine learning, computational journalism and media, conversational interfaces, and automatic content generation. Together with colleagues and students, Larry has published more than 150 papers on these topics and holds 56 U.S. patents.
Larry was Chair of Computer Science at Northwestern from 2014 to 2019, during which time the department grew from 20 faculty to a total of 37, and student majors from about 100 to more than 500. He currently serves as an advisor to the AI and Data Science Program at Jio Institute, a new university being established in Navi Mumbai, India. Larry received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Yale, and was on the faculty there before joining Northwestern.
Larry is also Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor of Narrative Science, an AI start-up based on technology developed at Northwestern that builds and markets technology to automatically generate narratives from data, at scale. The company’s mission is to make the world’s data meaningful to people through stories.

Special Instructions: This talk is part of the 3rd Symposium on Storytelling with Data, see Please register at We will send you a Zoom link before the event.

Host: Steffen Heber, CSC

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