Ivan Kulikov of Gazea.ru recently wrote, “What is the difference between the search engine function and computer linguistics? Can natural language and machine language be merged? What counts as a language? Vladimir Selegey, head of the faculty of computer linguistics at the Russian State University for the Humanities and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and director of the ABBYY linguistics research company, answered these and other questions for Gazeta.ru.”

Selegey stated, “The linguistics technology behind modern search engines is pretty basic. Let me explain what I mean here. Search engines are currently dominated by statistical methodology: they deliver quick results but without any linguistic analysis; they compare humongous quantities of text data on the system and the history of queries that have been fed in. It’s a way of applying a modern mathematical approach to machine-learning, but the search criteria bear no relation to any analysis of meaning. We’ve got a different way of working. We want to compare the semantic proximity of the question to the text it finds, based on semantic analysis. Sure — it’s more risky and it costs more, so fewer people go down this ‘knowledge-hungry’ route. Google and Microsoft Research have been doing related research on this stuff. They can afford the luxury of addressing these types of problems.”

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Image: Courtesy ABBYY