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Posts Tagged ‘search engines’

My Arrow is about to leave the Quiver!

February 26th, 2010 7 comments

In my last post, I made mention of the mistakes I’d made around scope-creep and attempting too much in one go. Those curious can read the previous post ‘My Personal Arrow Project’.

I made a firm resolution to rectify that, and within 18 days, I kept my word.

The beta version of my product (to be announced here in a few days) is hereby complete. My original ambitious goal was to build a recommender system that could inform users which items in a steady information river flowing past them are actually useful (to them). It was a hard problem (to say the least). I have now taken a simple step in that direction.

For those (like me) with tons of useful RSS feeds to follow, but which we cannot possibly completely digest, I’ve create a tool that will automatically archive the blogs that you care about and raise alerts when topics of interest (to you) are discussed. The archive stretches back to when the blogs were initiated, so you never have to worry about missing a post again. Voila, your bookmarks are now so much more useful to you.

Watch this space for more action.

At the heart of this product is sophisticated crawlers, duplicate detectors, data cleaning and classification algorithms. Very complex stuff. At the front-end is a simple interface that a 5 years old could us.
It is designed to make a user’s experiences with their everyday information tools better, reduce anxiety, and enhance value.

It’s been a good two weeks. :-)

– Shahzad

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.