Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can networked human computation solve computer language comprehension?

26.01.2009
Researchers at the University of Essex hope to answer this question by getting more volunteers to take part in their online game, Phrase Detectives.

Jon Chamberlain, from Essex's School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, explains: ‘Human language is not an unconnected series of words, phrases and sentences but a series of people, objects and ideas that refer to each other in different ways.

The complexity of language makes it sound "natural" to a reader but it can be difficult to define the rules that allow us to understand it.

‘Consider the statement: "Mary is a teacher who is 25 years old. She lives in England." A human reader can easily ascertain facts about Mary's occupation, age and residence by, for example, knowing that the word "she" refers to the person "Mary". However, comprehending this type of language referencing is a challenge facing programmers when designing computer systems that try to understand text, such as search, translation and summarisation systems.’

This is where the work of those playing Phrase Detectives becomes important. The game, part of a larger project called AnaWiki, is an attempt to address the bottleneck in creating annotated linguistic resources. By initially investigating anaphoric references (as in the example above) the project aims to develop a resource larger than anything currently available.

Players (or detectives) register at: www.phrasedetecives.org and read through texts, making annotations to highlight relationships between words and phrases. They may be asked to 'name the culprit', so will be given a word or phrase and must look for it appearing earlier in the text. For example: 'Sherlink Holmes went to the shop. He got some tobacco for his pipe.' The word ‘he’ refers to 'Sherlink Holmes'.

Jon added: ‘Players of the game are helping to create a resource that is rich in linguistic information and improves future technology. This project aims to collect a significant amount of data and investigate the possibility of using mass collaboration to train computer systems.

‘The best way to understand a language is to have lots of examples where the meaning has been clarified. Unfortunately creating this type is resource is both time consuming and expensive but the new approach offered by Phrase Detective should address this resource shortage. The same methodology could also be used to create resources for machine translation, semantics and other linguistic phenomenon.’

So far, players have made over 40,000 annotations in four weeks. However, the researchers hope more will join as detectives and that people will add new text to the site for analysis.

Phrase Detectives can be defined as part of a genre of “games with a purpose” (GWAP) that collect data on images, texts and music. The crucial element of these games is that players receive points for agreeing with each other. They are motivated to collaborate with their partners in order to score maximum points. This ensures that players are attempting to provide good quality information, as this will result in the most agreement.

The Essex researchers believe Phrase Detectives is the first attempt to collect linguistic judgements using a fun, collaborative online game. They aim to make the tasks and the texts interesting so it feels more like a computer game than a linguistic task. The data collected can then be used to improve computer systems that try to understand text. For example, it could help search engines find information more relevant to your searches.

So, can networked human computation really solve complex language comprehension tasks on computers? Initial results from the beta version of the game look promising and more detailed analysis will completed in early 2009.

Victoria Bartholomew | alfa
Further information:
http://www.phrasedetectives.org
http://www.essex.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Technology that feels good
27.05.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Computing at the Speed of Light
22.05.2015 | University of Utah

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Advance in regenerative medicine

The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.

Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

Im Focus: First electrical car ferry in the world in operation in Norway now

  • Siemens delivers electric propulsion system and charging stations with lithium-ion batteries charged from hydro power
  • Ferry only uses 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) per route and reduces cost of fuel by 60 percent
  • Milestone on the road to operating emission-free ferries

The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...

Im Focus: Into the ice – RV Polarstern opens the arctic season by setting course for Spitsbergen

On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.

RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers develop intelligent handheld robots

27.05.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

"Hidden" fragrance compound can cause contact allergy

27.05.2015 | Health and Medicine

Supernovas help 'clean' galaxies

27.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>