Monday, December 15, 2008

They know what I'm thinking

I love artificial intelligence. Over the past year or so, I have had a growing interest in a field of study under the Computer Science umbrella called "natural language processing," or NLP for short. I love the idea that with a good understanding of mathematics and linguistics that a programmer can design systems that can read lots of text and begin to retrieve and understand the actual context of the sentence, as well as to translate the sentence as a whole, not just word-by-word.

Which brings me to two websites I've stumbled across in my research on advances in NLP. The first one is this really cool program called Jodange Top of Mind. Designed and co-founded by Dr. Claire Cardie, Professor at Cornell University's Department of Computer Science. This program can extract opinionated comments from news articles and presents them as a means to summarize the article. Simply amazing. I recommend signing up for a trial.

Today I also just stumbled across Nice Translator, which is a cool language translation program that uses the Google Translate API to translate entire sentences into multiple languages. It's really smart and uses AJAX to correct the translation as you type. It does a great job. I did find one boo-boo between English and Spanish. I was trying out the subjunctive to see how it would render in Spanish and entered the following sentence:
I doubt that you are going to Peru in December.
I expected to get back:
Dudo que usted vaya al PerĂº en diciembre.
but instead I got:
me cabe duda de que va a PerĂº en diciembre.
I'm pretty sure that ir is conjugated incorrectly here. However, if you reverse translate the expected sentence to English, you get the correct result. It looks like the program understands subjunctive, but might have an issue with using it. Spanish experts, please correct me if I'm wrong.

I hope someday to have the opportunity to study NLP. I think that it will make a great impact on our future.

1 comment:

nickruiz said...

I forgot to mention that Nice Translator was just released a week ago. It has some bugs, but I'm confident that they will be fixed soon. This is a really awesome translator!