Practical Natural-Language Processing by Computer


Moore, R. C. (1981). Practical Natural-Language Processing by Computer. SRI INTERNATIONAL MENLO PARK CA ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER.


This paper describes the state of the art in practical computer systems for natural-language processing. We first consider why one would want to use natural language to communicate with computers at all, looking at both general issues and specific applications. Next we examine what it really means for a system to have natural-language capability. This is followed by a discussion of some major limitation of current technology. The bulk of the paper is devoted to looking in detail at a single application of natural-language processing: database retrieval by natural-language query. We lay out an overall system architecture, explains what types of processing and information are required. Then we look at two general classes of systems, special-purpose and general-purpose, explaining how they differ and their relative advantages and disadvantages. Afterwards we point out some remaining problems that will require additional basic research. Finally we conclude by discussing when language-processing technology at various levels of capability is likely to be commercially practical, and what it may cost to develop and use applications of that technology. 

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