Posts Tagged ‘linguistics’

Computational Linguistics in the Real World

October 6th, 2009 2 comments

I was recently invited to present my thoughts on how students from the University Of Ottawa Linguistics Department could benefit career-wise from the knowledge of computational linguistics. I gave an overview of computational approaches to linguistics, listed a number of areas where viable products can be created, and described three technologies that have already been successfully commercialized, or are ready for it.

Computational Linguistics in the Real World SlidePack [PDF format download]

I also provided an overview of machine translation and speech recognition/transcription as well, even though these are not reflected in the slides.

After the presentation, I asked a very interesting question (among others) that I’d like to elucidate on a bit. The question was regarding a statement I made that statistical methods in computational linguistics have become very popular, and I was asked what does this imply for the symbolic logic (rational methods).

There had always been a bit of back and forth between the empiricists and the rationalists in computational linguistics. However, with the cheap computational resources and abundance of data available nowadays, it makes a lot of sense to run some [empirical] exploratory data analysis experiments, and carry out some collocation/correlation analysis before getting really deep into the problem. This way, you can get some results within two week, rather than finding out the viability of your hypothesis after six months of intense [rationale-based] study and experimentation. If the initial results are promising, and the research problem is worthy of further study, only then should you commit yourself to studying this particular issue deeper.