A Pragmatic-Based Language Understanding System


PLUS - 5254

Keywords natural language processing, knowledge-based systems, user interfaces


Start Date: 12-NOV-90 / Duration: 30 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives and Approach

PLUS achieves robustness in natural language understanding by treating natural language as a communicative activity whose essential characteristic is to convey a meaning that is both appropriate and contextually relevant.

Since the intention of a human user of natural language is to convey a message, and since all messages occur in some context, it is crucially important to exploit this context in the derivation of the intended interpretation. This contrasts with other approaches to the problem of robustness, which miss the heart of the problem, which is to react appropriately in a context created or updated by the fact that a user has typed something at a keyboard with the express purpose of communicating a message.

One key issue is the exploitation of both pragmatic and linguistic phenomena (such as interpretation with respect to context) in order to provide reasoning-based robustness in natural language understanding by integrating these two areas.

Progress and Results

The development work carried out in the PLUS project produced an environment for developing intelligent natural language interfaces to interactive computing environments (both information-seeking dialogue systems and problem-solving environments). A first demonstrator, interactive Yellow Pages, was developed; the PLUS modular architecture incorporates a replaceable application model will enable new applications to be produced with relatively little effort.

Currently available languages are English and French. The emphasis on pragmatics and language-independent reasoning, and the resulting simplicity and modularity of the language-specific knowledge-bases, facilitates the adaptation of the system to new languages or multilingual use.

Exploitation

CAP will establish a customer base for natural language applications markets and will further the Interactive Yellow Pages application.

CAP debis and OMEGA GENERATION are targetting tools for knowledge-based management systems. The academic partners are pursuing the related linguistic research work: the study of language or knowledge level, work on abduction and pragmatics, etc.

The PLUS partners have committed to a book on robustness and pragmatics in dialogue.


CONTACT POINT

Dr Jean-Marie Lancel
CAP GEMINI INNOVATION
86-90 rue Thiers
F - BOULOGNE-BILLANCOURT CEDEX
tel: + 33/ 1-4910 5302
fax: + 33/ 1-4910 0615
email: lancel@csinn.uucp

Participants

CAP GEMINI INNOVATION - F - C
CAP DEBIS GEI - D - P
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT
BRABANT (ITK) - NL - P
OMEGA GENERATION - I - P
UMIST - UK - P
CNRS-LIMSI - F - A
UNIVERSITA DI PISA - I - S
UNIVERSITY OF GÖTEBURG - S - A
UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL - UK - A


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PLUS - 5254, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook