Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can Networked Human Computation Solve Computer Language Comprehension?

Date:
January 26, 2009
Source:
University of Essex
Summary:
Researchers hope to answer this question by getting more volunteers to take part in their online game, Phrase Detectives.

Researchers at the University of Essex hope to answer this question by getting more volunteers to take part in their online game, Phrase Detectives.

Jon Chamberlain, from Essex's School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, explains: ‘Human language is not an unconnected series of words, phrases and sentences but a series of people, objects and ideas that refer to each other in different ways. The complexity of language makes it sound "natural" to a reader but it can be difficult to define the rules that allow us to understand it.

‘Consider the statement: "Mary is a teacher who is 25 years old. She lives in England." A human reader can easily ascertain facts about Mary's occupation, age and residence by, for example, knowing that the word "she" refers to the person "Mary". However, comprehending this type of language referencing is a challenge facing programmers when designing computer systems that try to understand text, such as search, translation and summarisation systems.’

This is where the work of those playing Phrase Detectives becomes important. The game, part of a larger project called AnaWiki, is an attempt to address the bottleneck in creating annotated linguistic resources. By initially investigating anaphoric references (as in the example above) the project aims to develop a resource larger than anything currently available.

Players (or detectives) register at: http://www.phrasedetectives.org and read through texts, making annotations to highlight relationships between words and phrases. They may be asked to 'name the culprit', so will be given a word or phrase and must look for it appearing earlier in the text. For example: 'Sherlink Holmes went to the shop. He got some tobacco for his pipe.' The word ‘he’ refers to 'Sherlink Holmes'.

Jon added: ‘Players of the game are helping to create a resource that is rich in linguistic information and improves future technology. This project aims to collect a significant amount of data and investigate the possibility of using mass collaboration to train computer systems.

‘The best way to understand a language is to have lots of examples where the meaning has been clarified. Unfortunately creating this type is resource is both time consuming and expensive but the new approach offered by Phrase Detective should address this resource shortage. The same methodology could also be used to create resources for machine translation, semantics and other linguistic phenomenon.’

So far, players have made over 40,000 annotations in four weeks. However, the researchers hope more will join as detectives and that people will add new text to the site for analysis.

Phrase Detectives can be defined as part of a genre of “games with a purpose” (GWAP) that collect data on images, texts and music. The crucial element of these games is that players receive points for agreeing with each other. They are motivated to collaborate with their partners in order to score maximum points. This ensures that players are attempting to provide good quality information, as this will result in the most agreement.

The Essex researchers believe Phrase Detectives is the first attempt to collect linguistic judgements using a fun, collaborative online game. They aim to make the tasks and the texts interesting so it feels more like a computer game than a linguistic task. The data collected can then be used to improve computer systems that try to understand text. For example, it could help search engines find information more relevant to your searches.

So, can networked human computation really solve complex language comprehension tasks on computers? Initial results from the beta version of the game look promising and more detailed analysis will completed in early 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Essex. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Essex. "Can Networked Human Computation Solve Computer Language Comprehension?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090126082345.htm>.
University of Essex. (2009, January 26). Can Networked Human Computation Solve Computer Language Comprehension?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090126082345.htm
University of Essex. "Can Networked Human Computation Solve Computer Language Comprehension?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090126082345.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins