Posts Tagged 'HLT'

Machine Translation.(Questionnaire 2 and questionnaire 3)

There are other research topics apart from Speaker Recognition and Computational Semantics. One that I think is really interesting is Machine Translation. This term has its origin in the 17th century when René Descartes (French philosopher, mathematician…) proposed a universal language. He wanted that the same ideas in different languages had the same symbol.

In these times, Machine Translation or MT is a field of computational linguistics that investigate how to translate text or speech from one natural language to another using computer software. It has to be said that the invention is extremely useful in areas where formal language is used such as legal or administrative documents. Nevertheless, when it is a colloquial or familiar text, the machine normally makes lots of mistakes because it translates the text word by word. We can see an example in the following picture.


Many computer scientists, linguists… have tried to improve this machine with more or less success. We could mention Hans Uszkoreit who I have talked about in a previous article. He worked in a machine translation project while he was staying at Austin. Moreover, there have being carried out several projects all over the world. For example, one in the National Centre for Language Technology in Ireland or the Norwegian-English Machine Translation in Norway.



Computational Semantics and Speaker Recognition. (Q2)

Nowadays, computer scientists are concerned about many topics. However, there are some issues which are more discussed. Computational Semantics has a great importance and there have been done lots of projects in this field. But what does Computational Semantics mean? Well, first of all, it has to be said that to understand it you have to know terms like semantics, linguistics, natural language Wikipedia defines it like this:

“Computational Semantics is the study of how to automate the process of constructing and reasoning with meaning representations of natural language expressions. It consequently plays an important role in natural language processing and computational linguistics.”

In other words, the aim of this multidisciplinary field is to find techniques to write automatically semantic representations for expressions of human language. Indeed, we will be able to perform inference thanks to these representations.

Another important research topic is Speaker Recognition, this happens when the computer tries to recognize who is speaking. Mainly, it uses the features of speech that everybody has different like anatomy (size of the mouth, shape of the throat…) and learned behavioural patterns (speaking style, voice pitch…). It is similar to Speech Recognition. Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with that. Speech Recognition is the fact of recognizing what is being said.

Finally, I would like to say that one particularly project sticks in my mind with regard to speaker recognition. The name of the project is Secure Access Front-End and scientists are trying to improve the services access security without increasing the service complexity.


List of research topics mentioned in major sites on Human Language Technologies. (Questionnaire 2)

After having surfed among a wide range of sites on Human Language Technologies, these are the research topics that I have selectionated:

1. Language Checking.

2. Computational Semantics.

3. Machine Translation.

4. Computer Aided Language Learning.

5. Semántica, pragmática y discurso.

6. Resolución de la ambigüedad léxica.

7. Multimodality.

8. Natural Language Parsing.

9. Speech Retrieval.

10. Spoken Dialogue Systems.

11. Speaker Recognition.


  • Projects (2009, June, 9) In Language Technology World. Retrieved: 9:30, June 19, 2009, from
  • NCLT Research Groups (2009, April, 15) In National Centre for Language Technology. Retrieved: 9:50, June 19, 2009, from
  • Objetivos. In Sociedad Española para el Procesamiento del Lenguage Natural. Retrieved 10:07, June 19, 2009, from
  • Main Conference Program (2006-2007) In ACL 2007. Retrieved 10:20, June 19, 2009 from



Hans Uszkoreit (Q1)

Hans Uszkoreit was born in Rostock (Germany) in 1950. He studied Linguistics and Computer Science at the Technical University of Berlin. While he was studying there, he worked as an editor and writer for the magazine Zitty. It has to be said that this magazine was co-founded by him. Then, he was given a Fulbright Grant and continued his studies at the University of Texas at Austin. The Fulbright Grant was created by J. William Fulbright (senator of Arkansas in the period of the Second World War) and the reason for creating this educational help was to make inhabitants from Europe and the United States understand one another better. It was also a good way to encourage tolerance and understanding between countries.

Returning to Hans Uszkoreit’s stay at Austin, not only did he study but he also worked in a machine translation project at the Linguistics Research Center. Finally, in 1984 he received the Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Texas. Since then, he has been doing several things. Indeed, he is member of a wide range of associations (European Academy of Sciences, European Network of Language and Speech …)


Nowadays, the scholar is a Professor of Computational Linguistics at Saarland University. Apart from serving as Scientific Director at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) where he heads the DFKI Language Technology Lab. Moreover, he has written a lot of publications and he has also written poems in English and in German. In conclusion, Hans Uszkoreit is an excellent professor and researcher, so people should take him into account when talking about linguistics and computer science.

Yorick Wilks (Q1)

If you are involved in the world of computer science, you should know about Yorick Wilks.  He is a computer scientist who was born in the United Kingdom in the year 1939. He is married and has four children. Firstly, he went to the Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, which is a prestigious single sex school situated in Devon. Then, the scholar went to the University of Cambridge where he received his M.A. and his PhD in the year 1968.


But why is Yorick Wilks so important in this field? Well, the answer is quite easy. First of all, he has done a lot of projects in relation to the understanding of natural language content by computers. Moreover, he has written several publications throughout his life and his career is extraordinary.  Nowadays, he is a professor at the University Of Sheffield, where he directs the Institute for Language, Speech and Hearing.

Finally, it has to be said that there is an excellent file about him in Wikipedia where one can read about his biography or his main publications, apart from other things. Do not hesitate to visit it.


Research Centres for Human Language Technologies.(Q1)

There are lots of research centres for Human Language Technologies all over the world. For instance, I am going to explain the meaning of Human Language Technology. It is also called Language Technology or Natural Language Processing. Mainly, it is a field of computer science and its aim is the interaction between machines and people.

With regard to the research centres, they do a great job with their projects. I would like to mention some of them that have called my attention. To begin with, there is one in South Africa which is called Meraka Institute. This African Institute claims that Human Language Technology can help all the people, from illiterate farmers to scientists. They are carrying out a project that involves a lot of researchers who study how to develop this technology to benefit the people of southern Africa.

HLT Group- Meraka Institute.

HLT Group- Meraka Institute.

Another important research centre is the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. They work for improving language technology with the help of novel computational techniques. Basically, they are investigating in three different areas: Information and Knowledge Management, Document Production and Natural Communication.

Finally, this last research centre is carrying out many projects at the moment such as DILIA (The Intelligent Library Assistant) or ConQA (Controlled Semantic- based Question Answering) apart from its commercial activities like the indexing of German and English texts using a software package.




June 2018
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