07 July 2006

What is Natural Language Understanding?

I've read lots of papers and seen lots of talks that justify a task as being useful to doing "natural language understanding." The problem I have here is that I really have no idea what NLU actually is. I think the standard line is that NLU is the process of transforming natural language text into "some representation" that is "easy" for a computer to "manipulate." Of course, the quoted words are so vacuous in meaning that I can easily imagine reasonable definitions for them that make this task either trivial or essentially impossible.

What I find unfortunate here is that, without trying hard to pin down definitions, this seems like a completely reasonable goal for NLP technology; in fact, my impression is that up until 10 or 20 years ago, this actually was one of the major goals of the field. According to the anthology, roughly 25% of the papers in 1979 contained the terms "NLU" or "language understanding", compared to 20% in the 1980s, 10% in the 90s and 7% in the 2000s. One possible explanation of the dwindling of this topic is that publication has become increasingly driven by experimental results, and if one cannot pin down a definition of a task, one cannot reliable compare results across multiple papers.

The recent push on textual entailment bears some semblance to NLU, but is simultaneously better defined and more restricted (though I admit to having heard some grumbling that some more work needs to be done to get textual entailment to be a very well defined task). There also continues to be a modicum of work on database filling and natural langauge database queries, though certainly not at the same rate as before.

4 comments:

. said...

酒店經紀PRETTY GIRL 台北酒店經紀人 ,禮服店 酒店兼差PRETTY GIRL酒店公關 酒店小姐 彩色爆米花酒店兼職,酒店工作 彩色爆米花酒店經紀, 酒店上班,酒店工作 PRETTY GIRL酒店喝酒酒店上班 彩色爆米花台北酒店酒店小姐 PRETTY GIRL酒店上班酒店打工PRETTY GIRL酒店打工酒店經紀 彩色爆米花

seldamuratim said...

Really trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..
sesli sohbetsesli chatkamerali sohbetseslisohbetsesli sohbet sitelerisesli chat siteleriseslichatsesli sohpetseslisohbet.comsesli chatsesli sohbetkamerali sohbetsesli chatsesli sohbetkamerali sohbet
seslisohbetsesli sohbetkamerali sohbetsesli chatsesli sohbetkamerali sohbet

DiSCo said...

Really trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it

to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..
seslisohbet
seslichat
sesli sohbet
sesli chat
sesli
sesli site
görünlütü sohbet
görüntülü chat
kameralı sohbet
kameralı chat
sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat siteleri
görüntülü sohbet siteleri
görüntülü chat siteleri
kameralı sohbet siteleri
canlı sohbet
sesli muhabbet
görüntülü muhabbet
kameralı muhabbet
seslidunya
seslisehir
sesli sex

Sesli Chat said...

Really trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it

to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..
seslisohbet
seslichat
sesli sohbet
sesli chat
sesli
sesli site
görünlütü sohbet
görüntülü chat
kameralı sohbet
kameralı chat
sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat siteleri
sesli muhabbet siteleri
görüntülü sohbet siteleri
görüntülü chat siteleri
görüntülü muhabbet siteleri
kameralı sohbet siteleri
kameralı chat siteleri
kameralı muhabbet siteleri
canlı sohbet
sesli muhabbet
görüntülü muhabbet
kameralı muhabbet
birsesver
birses
seslidunya
seslisehir
sesli sex