The 2005 Milner Lecture

Design of a computational linguistics platform

Gérard Huet,

Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA)

5.15pm Tuesday, 26 April 2005
Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, Edinburgh

Linguistics modelling by computer is a tough challenge. Several complex structures interact, for phonology, morphology, syntax and ultimately semantics. Relevant tools from automata theory, lambda calculus and denotational semantics as well as constraint satisfaction algorithms give a logical handle on the design of these interfaces, but statistical methods must be used to curb overgeneration. The trade-off between linguistic assistants using the expertise of a human and fully automated corpus analysers is similar to the one between proof assistants and automated theorem provers. The lecture will present recent work on the design of a computational linguistics platform for the Sanskrit language based on functional programming to illustrate these issues.