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The Telefónica Chair-University of Alicante will encourage social inclusion through the implementation of Human Language Technologies

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Alicante, 18th April 2012

Desarrollará un proyecto de investigación para la inclusión social de personas con afasia, dislexia, autismo, problemas visuales y auditivos

This morning, the Chair Telefónica-Universidad de Alicante has started its journey with a presentation ceremony that has been attended by the UA President, Ignacio Jimenez Raneda, the territorial Director of Telefónica, Francisco Javier Perez Castro, and the Director of the Chair and lecturer in Computing Languages %u200B%u200Band Systems at the UA, Antonio Ferrández Rodríguez, who has presented the annual programme to be developed by the Chair.

The Chair Telefónica-UA, under the Office of the UA Vice President for Institutional Relations, will deal with developing training programmes and a research project that will aim at the study of the "Impact of Human Language Technologies in social inclusion", as well Master' and PhD programmes, workshops, conferences, awards and competitions.

 According to the director of the Chair, Antonio Ferrandez, "we understand for social inclusion as the process that ensures that all segments of society participate equally in all areas, that is the economic, legal, political or cultural ones".

 As explained by Ferrandez, the research project is part of the Chair, which focuses on the impact of that Human Language Technologies have on the social inclusion of dependent people to enable them to access information and education. Specifically, "the project is aimed at people with difficulties in production and comprehension of language, either because they suffer from aphasia, autism, hearing or vision problems, dyslexia, or older people with such difficulties that increase with age", the director said in his speech.

The Director has also introducedo the Website of the Chair.

For its part, the University President, Ignacio Jimenez Raneda, has said today that "the Spanish university system considers that the University should take a leading role in the processes of human development, exploring and putting into practice new strategies to build a fairer and participatory society" and that "the AU has, since its inception, a strong commitment to its social environment and to the defense of human social values %u200B%u200Bin order to model in a co-responsible way our environment, promoting public participation for social welfare and the benefit of all".

Commitment to integration

All scheduled activities in the Department have been studied in detail for practical application with the highest possible social scope. Thus, as noted by Castro, "all the planned actions will improve the quality of life of dependent people, facilitating access to information and communication with others and providing tools to help them achieve goals that allow them to social integration".

And for Telefónica, "innovation is the DNA of the company" and with that, as highlighted by Castro, "we seek to benefit a society that considers technological applications as a tool that improves the lives of everyone, but above all, of those who have more difficulties". 

 Telefónica and the University

For Telefónica, the Chairs are essential tools to bring the technology to society and contribute to progress with innovative solutions focused on relevant issues such as education, health and inclusion.

The company seeks to strengthen relationships with universities to add value to the work of research and encourage the same time, implementation, use and knowledge of new technologies.

This is the philosophy of Telefónica Chairs Network, which was born almost a decade and currently is formed in Spain for 25 Chairs at 21 universitie

Brief curriculum Ferrández Antonio Rodriguez

Antonio Ferrández Rodríguez is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Computer Languages Systems at the University of Alicante (Spain) and member of the Computer Research Institute.

Degree in Computer Science from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in 1990, earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Alicante in 1998. He has taught in Data Programming and Structures in Computer Science degrees at the doctoral programmes of that department and in the Official Master's Degree in Information Technology. His main research interests include natural language processing, the resolution of linguistic problems (anaphora or ellipsis), the parser and information extraction systems, information retrieval and searching for answers. He has participated in numerous research projects related to these research topics, both public (national and European) as private. As a result of this research, has published 54 journal articles, two books, 13 book chapters, four patents and 50 participations in conferences.

He has also directed six dissertations and has served as editor and program committee member in various conference.

With regard to academic positions, noting that he served as Secretary of the Centre for Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies (CEDIP) of the UA in July 2002 to November 2007. Director of the Doctoral Programme "Computer Applications" from the Department of Computer Languages Systems, from April 2001 to July 2002. Treasurer of the Spanish Society for Natural Language Processing (SEPLN), from September 25, 1998 until July 21, 2004, and Secretary of the same company, since September 16, 1996 until 25 September 1998. In January 2012, he was appointed as the Director of Telefónica Chair-University of Alicante.

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