This week’s MCQLL meeting, on Thursday, Jan 28th at 1:30-2:30pm, will feature a talk from Dzmitry (Dima) Bahdanau, a research scientist at Element AI, a research group at ServiceNow.

Speaker Bio: I am a research scientist at Element AI that has just been acquired by ServiceNow. I am also a Core Industry Member of Mila and Adjunct Professor at McGill University. The current goal of my research is to further the adoption of language user interfaces. To this end I am interested in semantic parsing and task-oriented dialogue methods, in particular their systematic (compositional) generalization and sample efficiency. My prior research interests include grounding language in vision and action, question answering, speech recognition, machine translation and structured prediction in general. I have recently completed my PhD at Mila working under supervision of Yoshua Bengio.

Abstract: I will talk about the task of translating natural language queries into Structured Query Language (SQL). I will first discuss the broad relevance and importance of this task. I will make connections between SQL and meaning representations that are more conventional in linguistics, namely lambda-calculus. I will talk about type-based heuristics for query completion and how they sometimes allow models to infer correct queries without much syntactic understanding. I will describe how state-of-the-art models work, focusing on the recent DuoRAT model produced by our group. Lastly, I will talk about the on-going few-shot cross-domain text2sql project that we are currently working on at Element AI.

If you would like to attend this talk but have not yet registered for this semester’s MCQLL meetings, please send an email to so that we can get you the link.