We describe a novel system for discovering and characterizing emerging events. We define event emergence to be a developing situation comprised of a series of sub-events. To detect sub-events from a very large, continuous textual input stream, we use two techniques: (1) frequency-based detection of sub-events that are potentially entailed by an emerging event; and (2) anomaly-based detection of other subevents that are potentially indicative of an emerging event. Identifying emerging events from detected sub-events involves connecting sub-events to each other and to the relevant emerging events within the event models and estimating the likelihood of possible emerging events. Each subvent can be part of a number of emerging events and supports various event models to varying degrees. We adopt a coherent and compact model that probabilistically identifies emerging events. The innovative aspect of our work is a well-defined framework where statistical Big Data techniques are informed by event semantics and inference techniques (and vice versa). Our work is strongly grounded in semantics and knowledge representation, which enables us to produce more reliable results than would otherwise be possible with a purely statistical approach.
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