Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computer program learns language rules and composes sentences, all without outside help

01.09.2005


Cornell University and Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a method for enabling a computer program to scan text in any of a number of languages, including English and Chinese, and autonomously and without previous information infer the underlying rules of grammar. The rules can then be used to generate new and meaningful sentences. The method also works for such data as sheet music or protein sequences.



The development -- which has a patent pending -- has implications for speech recognition and for other applications in natural language engineering, as well as for genomics and proteomics. It also offers new insights into language acquisition and psycholinguistics.

"The algorithm -- the computational method -- for language learning and processing that we have developed can take a body of text, abstract from it a collection of recurring patterns or rules and then generate new material," explained Shimon Edelman, a computer scientist who is a professor of psychology at Cornell and co-author of a new paper, "Unsupervised Learning of Natural Languages," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS, Vol. 102, No. 33).


"This is the first time an unsupervised algorithm is shown capable of learning complex syntax, generating grammatical new sentences and proving useful in other fields that call for structure discovery from raw data, such as bioinformatics," he said.

Unlike previous attempts at developing computer algorithms for language learning, the new method, called Automatic Distillation of Structure (ADIOS), successfully identifies complex patterns in raw texts. The algorithm discovers the patterns by repeatedly aligning sentences and looking for overlapping parts.

For example, the sentences I would like to book a first-class flight to Chicago, I want to book a first-class flight to Boston and Book a first-class flight for me, please may give rise to the pattern book a first-class flight -- if this candidate pattern passes the novel statistical significance test that is the core of the algorithm.

If the system also encounters the sentences I need to book a direct flight from New York to Tel Aviv andI would like to book an economy flight , it may infer that the phrases first-class, direct and economy are equivalent in the context of the new pattern. "Because such equivalence sets can contain other patterns -- in turn containing further patterns, and so on -- the resulting body of knowledge grows recursively, as a sort of forest of branching trees of possibilities," said Edelman.

He added, "ADIOS relies on a statistical method for pattern extraction and on structured generalization -- two processes that have been implicated in language acquisition. Our experiments show that it can acquire intricate structures from raw data, including transcripts of parents’ speech directed at 2- or 3-year-olds. This may eventually help researchers understand how children, who learn language in a similar item-by-item fashion and with very little supervision, eventually master the full complexities of their native tongue."

In addition to child-directed language, the algorithm has been tested on the full text of the Bible in several languages, on artificial context-free languages with thousands of rules and on musical notation. It also has been applied to biological data, such as nucleotide base pairs and amino acid sequences. In analyzing proteins, for example, the algorithm was able to extract from amino acid sequences patterns that were highly correlated with the functional properties of the proteins.

The new method was developed jointly with David Horn and Eytan Ruppin, professors of physics and computer science, respectively, at Tel Aviv University, and with Zach Solan, a doctoral student there and the lead author on the paper. Their collaboration with Edelman was supported in part by the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

| EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>