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Language Technology News for 2011

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Semantic Search and Information Extraction on the Rise
Semantic search and extraction of data from natural language and pictures continues to be an important trend. Recently, Hewlett-Packard confirmed rumors that it would acquire Autonomy, a semantic-based tool used to extract information from non-structured data such as text.
Social Networking meets Problem Solving
The Jig homepage greets users with a blank, one-line text box prefaced by the words "I need." Once a person types in their want, their entry is added to the site's list of "recent needs" for other users to view and, if they're feeling helpful, address. Numerous question-and-answer sites already exist, but Jig is notable for its focus on social interaction, and because users post with the expectation of acting on the advice they receive. "What we're trying to do is get the needs people have in front of other people that can help," says Schachter. "We're trying to build a social network around utility rather than just sharing stuff."
IBM Builds Biggest Data Drive Ever
The system could enable detailed simulations of real-world phenomena—or store 24 billion MP3s. A data repository almost 10 times bigger than any made before is being built by researchers at IBM's Almaden, California, research lab. The 120 petabyte "drive"—that's 120 million gigabytes—is made up of 200,000 conventional hard disk drives working together. The giant data container is expected to store around one trillion files and should provide the space needed to allow more powerful simulations of complex systems, like those used to model weather and climate.
Google announced paid version of Translate API
When Google deprecated its Translate API at the end of May 2011, we wrote that "we suspect Google's plan for the next few months is to quietly wind down the free service while the company puts the finishing touches on its Translate API 2.0, the new no-longer-free sequel." Yesterday, Google announced the availability of Translate API v2, the paid version of its popular machine translation (MT) engine.
Google Translate in the Office
The potential usefulness of automatic computerized translation was recognized by the very first AI researchers in the 1950s. But it wasn't until new algorithms emerged in the 1980s and 1990s that the field made significant progress. Now, translation tools of great sophistication are playing a growing role in both everyday office use and for specialized fields, as the economy becomes increasingly globalized and companies sell products and services in multiple markets.
NLP to increase accuracy in sifting through Electronic Health Records
Despite billions of dollars in incentives to support the adoption of electronic medical records, evidence that these systems improve the efficiency or quality of care has been scarce. But a new study shows that natural-language processing—a branch of computer science that employs linguistics to analyze regular speech—may greatly increase the utility of these records in improving care.
Virgin Media selects Fizzback NL processor to enhance customer experience
Virgin Media is the first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services in the UK. The company delivers ultrafast broadband connections as well as the most advanced interactive television service to over half of all UK homes, and is expanding this cable network to reach thousands more people across the country. Virgin Media wants to combine its industry leading services with industry leading customer service from thousands of agents in multiple locations, both internal and outsourced. The innovative Fizzback solution will interact with customers via SMS immediately after an interaction with a Virgin Media advisor; this will include a verbatim comment which will be automatically processed in real-time by Fizzback's proprietary natural language processor.
7Notes HD to incorprate natural language technology
In a sea of note taking apps, 7notes HD shows early signs of strength in getting the job done. The app claims to have a state of the art predictive engine, which incorporates natural language technology. This will decrease note taking time because you don’t need to write or type complete sentences, as suggestions will pop up.
As the language industry creates jobs, companies struggle to find qualified candidates
In spite of high unemployment numbers in both established and emerging markets, hiring managers continue to lament their inability to find the appropriate candidates to fit many jobs, regardless of the level of expertise required. This trend is also playing out in the language service industry. In our quarterly business confidence survey for Q2 2012, we noticed that more than a third of LSPs (36.4%) said they added jobs in the previous three-month period, and an even greater number (38.8%) planned to add jobs in Q3 2012. There are plenty of people in the job market. Why are good workers so hard to find?
IBM unveils Cognitive Computing Chips
IBM researchers unveiled a new generation of experimental computer chips designed to emulate the brain's abilities for perception, action and cognition. The technology could yield many orders of magnitude less power consumption and space than used in today's computers. In a sharp departure from traditional concepts in designing and building computers, IBM's first neurosynaptic computing chips recreate the phenomena between spiking neurons and synapses in biological systems, such as the brain, through advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry. Its first two prototype chips have already been fabricated and are currently undergoing testing.
HP intends to buy Autonomy
Autonomy excels at analyzing the vast amounts of "unstructured data" being produced every day.
A Chip to encrypt the Web
New hardware should make it possible for all online data to be as secure as a credit card transaction. When a person accesses an HTTPS site, the computer and the Web server exchange and mathematically verify cryptographic keys to establish a secure link. Any data exchanged over that link is then encrypted and is practically impossible for an attacker to decrypt.
Sergei Perschke is dead
Sergey Perschke has passed away peacefully after a sudden and brief illness. He has played a very important role for the European MT and NLP community.
Nuance acquires Italian Speech firm Loquendo
Nuance Communications Inc. announced its fourth acquisition in as many months on Monday, saying it has a deal to acquire Italian speech technology firm Loquendo, a subsidiary of Telecom Itali.
Berlitz Corporation aqcuires Telelangue
Berlitz Corporation announced its acquisition of Telelangue SA, a global provider of language services based in Paris, France. Telelangue specializes in distance blended-learning and offers their clients custom-made phone classes and an award-winning e-learning program, supported by an advanced learning management system. Through this acquisition Berlitz will further expand its capability to provide integrated learning services that will combine its well-regarded face-to-face lessons and media-based learning services, such as e-learning, phone- and web- based training.