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The Faculty of Informatics is pleased to announce a seminar given by Jacques Savoy



"Who is the secret hand behind Elena Ferrante?"
Speaker: Jacques Savoy
University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Place: USI Lugano Campus, room SI-003, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)
Time: 14:30-15:30



Elena Ferrante is a pen name known worldwide, authoring novels such as the bestseller My Brilliant Friend.  A recent study indicates that the true author behind these books is probably Domenico Starnone. Our study aims to select a set of approved authorship methods and appropriate feature sets to prove, with as much certainty as possible, that this conclusion is correct.  To achieve this, a corpus of contemporary Italian novels has been generated, containing 150 books written by 40 authors (including seven by Ferrante).  Six authorship identification models have been applied to this dataset (Delta, Labbé’s distance, nearest shrunken neighbors (NSC), naïve Bayes, k-NN, and character n-grams).  Using either an instance- or profile-based matching technique, the same result (Starnone) appears very often in first place.  Modifying the feature set to include be-tween 50 and 2,000 of the most frequent tokens or lemmas does not change this result.  When removing Starnone’s novels from the corpus, all approved attribution methods tend to indicate different names as the most probable author.  This result seems to confirm not only that the outputs of these methods are independent, but also that the true author is certainly Starnone.  Finally, a lexical analysis reveals the reasons justifying this conclusion. 



Prof. Jacques Savoy is full Professor in Computer Science at University of Neuchatel (Switzerland).  J. Savoy received a Ph.D. in quantitative economics from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) in 1987. From 1987-92 he was on the faculty of Computer Science at the University of Montreal (Canada).  His research interests cover mainly natural language processing and particularly information retrieval for other languages than English (European, Asian, and Indian) as well as multilingual and cross-lingual information retrieval.  He participated from many years to various evaluations campaigns (CLEF, NTCIR and TREC) dealing with these questions.  His current research interests are related to text clustering and categorization as well as authorship attribution.


Host: Prof. Fabio Crestani


Faculty of Informatics

Faculty of Informatics
Università della Svizzera italiana
Via Giuseppe Buffi 13
CH-6904 Lugano
Tel.: +41 (0)58 666 46 90
Fax: +41 (0)58 666 45 36
Email: decanato.inf@usi.ch
Web: www.inf.usi.ch
Twitter: @USI_INF


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