Ulpanat Talya Graduate Working with Microsoft to Teach Computers to Read

Yehudit Meged, a recent graduate of SAE’s Ulpanat Talya, is part of a team working at the Microsoft Israel Development Center developing artificial intelligence technology that extracts insights from medical texts and helps health organizations better care for patients. The platform that she is developing has been chosen as an AI platform leadingthe world in the field of medicine.

Ulpanat Talya graduate Yehudit Meged is studying for a masters degree from Bar-Ilan University and is working as a data scientist at the Microsoft Israel Development Center.

Yehudit presented her research last month at the Israeli Society for Computational Linguistics conference, and has also been accepted to present at an international convention.

Yehudit started studying computer science at the age of 14 at Talya,a national religious high school that enables young women to attain a B.A. or B.Sc. college degree while studying at high school with an added 13th year. She is now pursuing a master’s degree at Bar-Ilan University, with a thesis on processing natural languages.

Yehudit shares her background and describes her research for us in this interview.

What is your educational background: I started my first degree in computer science at the age of 14 while studying at Ulpanat Talya. After finishing my national service as a programmer, I understood that I have a lot more to learn, so now I’m studying for a master’s degree at Bar-Ilan University with a thesis on processing natural languages.

What do you do Microsoft: I am a data scientist in the Healthcare group and am currently part of a team that developing artificial intelligence technology that extracts insights from medical texts and helps health organizations provide better treatment for their patients. For example, we help doctors find clinical trials that might help their patients. Very recently, the platform we are developing was chosen by an international organization as the world’s leading AI platform in the field of medicine.

Admission of guilt: I liked infinitesimal math quite a bit, but maybe I just convinced myself in retrospect that it wasn’t a terrible course.

Advantages of meeting your romantic partner during studies: He doesn’t think I’m weird if I get excited at home when a model that I worked on shows good results.

How did you land in Microsoft: At an NLP conference a good friend introduced me to the man who is now my boss and I simply turned to him and said ′′Hi, I’m looking for a job”. Two days later, the whole country went into lockdown because of some mysterious virus, so they interviewed me online and I’ve already been with the company five months now. Thus far, I have met my colleagues primarily on the screen, but it took very little time before I felt part of the team. It’s not only because they are great people and Microsoft made sure that I would be comfortable working from home, it’s also because we have a common mission that brings us closer – we really want to help humans become healthier.

Why technology: In fourth grade my father would give me riddles about binary numbers and group theory, and to this day I love how this field forces me to deal with challenges that initially seem unresolvable and when they finally deciphered, it feels amazing.

Preferred challenge: To teach computers to read, because it’s more complicated than teaching a child. Language is not just a sequence of individual words, there is something dynamic and complex about it, and if you want technology to understand the context in which the words are spoken, then you need to find a way to provide it with human intuition. And that’s exactly what I work on, both in my studies and at Microsoft.

And plans for the future: To continue working on natural language processing technologies that can help people, and it would also be nice to use the ski clothes buried in my closet again. They are patiently waiting for it to be possible to travel abroad.

Ulpanat Talya is a national religious high school and residential complex in Jerusalem serving 300 orthodox young women from Jerusalem and across Israel. Talya’s unique and innovative “Chen”track  enables students to attain a B.A. or B. Sc. degree while studying in high school with he addition of a 13th year.

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