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Language Technology News for 2011

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How Google+ will balcanize your Social Life
Google launched its Facebook competitor, Google+, just over a week ago now. Even though sign-ups have so far been limited to a fraction of Facebook's 750 million users, it already appears that, for a lot of people, Google+ will become the other social network they need to use. Why? Because a significant fraction of their friends will force them to. The killer feature of Google+ is that, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn, or most other social networks, there's no such thing as a friend request. Users can create groups of friends, called Circles in Google+ terminology. These circles can include both other Google+ users and nonusers who receive status updates via e-mail rather than via the site.
MS CEO Ballmer pushes on Bing and NLP
Ballmer is outlining — computers that understand verbs — require better speech understanding than is currently available to most users. But don’t forget: Microsoft has a few different speech-processing technologies in the hopper. Microsoft isn’t the only company attempting to harness natural-language capabilities and use them in conjunction with bigger data sets. eWeek reported recently on IBM’s plans to use its Watson technology to build an internal system that its sales people could use to answer questions. Watson makes use of advanced natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation and reasoning, and machine learning technologies to answer questions. Both Microsoft and IBM are racing to harness all the big data they’re amassing. Microsoft sees Bing as the front end/user interface for getting at that data, while IBM seems to be focusing on vertically-focused interfaces that make use of its Deep Q&A engine inside Watson.
Overwhelming response to SDL OpenExchange brings record downloads and developer participation
SDL, a leading provider of Global Information Management solutions, has announced a surge in usage of its innovative SDL OpenExchange(TM). SDL OpenExchange provides a unique, open industry platform which enables developers to extend and customize the capabilities of industry-leading products such as SDL Trados(R) Studio. It also acts as a web portal for developing, marketing and selling applications and plug-ins that leverage the open architecture of SDL's language technology products. Only six months after its full launch, SDL OpenExchange has received over 15,000 application downloads and now has over 200 developers signed-up to the program. Some of the most popular apps listed include SDL XLIFF Converter, the MyMemory plug-in from Translated Srl and the ARCO lookup tool.
OGC seeks public comment on GeoSPARQL standard
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) seeks public comment on the candidate OGC “GeoSPARQL: A Geographic Query Language for RDF Data” Standard. The candidate OGC GeoSPARQL standard defines spatial extensions to the W3C's SPARQL protocol and RDF query language. GeoSPARQL follows a modular design. A core component defines top-level RDFS/OWL classes for spatial objects. A geometry component defines RDFS data types for serializing geometry data, RDFS/OWL classes for geometry object types, geometry-related RDF properties, and non-topological spatial query functions for geometry objects. A geometry topology component defines topological query functions. A topological vocabulary component defines RDF properties for asserting topological relations between spatial objects, and a query rewrite component defines rules for transforming a simple triple pattern that tests a topological relation between two features into an equivalent query involving concrete geometries and topological query functions.
An Online Identity Plan
Most people identify themselves online by juggling a long list of user names and passwords. Most industry experts agree that this approach is hopelessly broken. A few technologies have been invented to address the problem of online account overload, for example, the open standard OpenID, which lets people use a single credential to log in to multiple sites. Companies are also vying to fill the gap--Facebook, for instance, offers technology that lets people log into other Web sites using their Facebook credentials.
Loquendo Receives META Seal of Recognition
META-Seal of Recognition was presented to Loquendo, and other companies, for its role in creating multilingual products and services that have helped to eliminate language barriers enabling innovative ideas to be shared, and businesses and individuals to gain access to the various market opportunities which are currently not leveraged as much as they should be. The European Commission’s Deputy Director-General for the Information Society and Media, Zoran Stancic, stated in his commencement speech at the conference, "In the European Union we have lifted to a large extent the physical borders between countries, still there are many borders remaining, including linguistic ones. Access to information in all languages is a necessary condition to enhance the circulation of products and services, and to boost the advent of a seamless digital single market."
Simba Technologies to enable virtual OLAP cubes for big data with Kognitio Pablo
Simba Technologies Inc., announced that it has delivered a big data, in-memory, Multi-Dimensional eXpressions (MDX) query language solution to power Kognitio Pablo to enable train-of-thought analytics on extreme data.
Health Care of the Future to apply NLP
In 1974 Peter Szolovits made a prediction: By the 1980s, a majority of large hospitals would adopt electronic medical records. While the technology did not progress as quickly as expected, the U.S. government is currently making a major push to have hospitals switch from paper folders stuffed with memos to a secure and efficient electronic system. The principal technical challenges include developing natural-language processing methods that allow computer programs to automatically extract clinical files, events and relationships from the narrative text in records, and to combine the resulting data with existing information from laboratory tests and prescription orders to identify patients' conditions and current treatments.
Tracking public health trends by Twitter
Mark Dredze and Michael J. Paul fed 2 billion public tweets posted between May 2009 and October 2010 into computers, then used software to filter out the 1.5 million messages that referred to health matters. Identities of the tweeters were not collected by Dredze, a researcher at the university’s Human Language Technology Center of Excellence and an assistant research professor of computer science, and Paul, a doctoral student. “Our goal was to find out whether Twitter posts could be a useful source of public health information,” Dredze said. “We determined that indeed they could. In some cases, we probably learned some things that even the tweeters’ doctors were not aware of, like which over-the-counter medicines the posters were using to treat their symptoms at home.”
Sri Lanka's four principles underpinning the Presidential Initiative: English as a life skill
The President explained, that although every child learns English at school continuously for 10 years – 5 hours a week, ninety five percent of our children – or perhaps even more – leave school without the ability to speak two sentences together in English. There are well staffed ELTUs in every university but the vast majority of our university students are known to graduate without the ability to speak fluently in English. His Excellency affirmed insistently that there was obviously something fundamentally wrong with the mainstream system of English teaching and learning in the country. A far reaching transformation was required: A strong determination to take the country along a new course of action. A paradigm shift in the teaching and learning of the English language seemed to be the President’s call.
Google's future in China hangs in the Balance
Google's ability to operate any kind of Internet business in the world's largest market hangs in the balance as China weighs whether it will renew Google's Internet license, which officially expired June 30.
Google's epic graph cruncher mimicked with open source
In some cases, Google will publish research papers describing one of the proprietary platforms driving its back end, and to a certain degree this allows outside developers to mimic these platforms with open source projects. Google papers on its GFS distributed file system and MapReduce distributed number-crunching platform, for example, gave rise to the open source Hadoop, and a paper on its BigTable distributed database sparked the open source HBase project. Now, much the same thing has happened with Google Pregel, Mountain View's platform for processing enormous online graphs, such as a map of the web itself, or of a social network, graphing relationships between people. This week, a Texas startup known as Ravel unveiled an open source project based on Google's 2010 paper describing Pregel. Open sourced under an Apache license at GitHub, the project is dubbed GoldenOrb.
Innovaro announces the availability of "Innovaro LaunchPad" the innovation engine
The rigorous and disciplined methods incorporated into the solution, along with advisory support, will enable teams to consistently create, innovate and build new growth platforms while building a repository of breakthrough concepts. In addition the LaunchPad software integrates NLP (Natural Language Processing) and semantic annotation technology, advanced text mining and clustering algorithms to help companies gain insight faster from the ever increasing amount of information being created both within the enterprise and from the Internet including social media channels.
ThingWorx acquires Palantiri Systems
Palantiri Systems' AlwaysOn Device Collaboration Technology to be Combined with the ThingWorx Platform to Provide Revolutionary Advantages for the Connected World
Baidu to push "Box Computing" for smarter, interactive Web searches
Baidu is pushing to make its search results box smarter, more relevant, and more alive – that’s why numerous popular searches in the Baidu search bar can bring up an interactive frame that could, among other things, play music (pictured above) or games, post to a microblog, let you check currency conversions, or download a popular app with just one click. Google and Bing haven’t ventured so far as Baidu into smart or semantic content results from the search box. Sure, Google’s updated mobile page is impressive – using your geolocation to provide locally relevant results and/or nearby listings – but it’s not quite the approach that Baidu describes as “box computing” – ie: to understand semantically what the user is really looking for, and make life easier for them in finding it, all in one page.