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Teaching computers to understand human languages

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Researchers at the University of Liverpool have developed a set of algorithms that will help teach computers to process and understand human languages. Whilst mastering natural language is easy for humans, it is something that computers have not yet been able to achieve. The algorithms will enable a computer to act in much the same way as a human would when encountered with an unknown word.

When the computer encounters a word it doesn’t recognise or understand, the algorithms mean it will look up the word in a dictionary, and tries to guess what other words should appear with this unknown word in the text.

In order to know whether the algorithm has provided the computer with an accurate representation of a word it compares similarity scores produced using the word representations learnt by the computer algorithm against human rated similarities.

Liverpool computer scientist, Dr Danushka Bollegala, said: “Learning accurate word representations is the first step towards teaching languages to computers.”

“If we can represent the meaning for a word in a way a computer could understand, then the computer will be able to read texts on behalf of humans and perform potentially useful tasks such as translating a text written in a foreign language, summarising a lengthy article, or find similar other documents from the Internet.”

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Article originally posted at phys.org

Post Author: Carla Parsons

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