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Computer Scientists Win Morpho Challenge 2009

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University of Bristol computer scientists have won the Morpho Challenge, an international science competition financed by the European Union through its PASCAL Network of Excellence. The contest promotes the development of computer algorithms that deconstruct vocabulary units, or morphemes, in words in order to understand language. Such technology is used for spell checking, speech recognition, electronic translation, information searching, and text-to-speech systems.

Bristol's winning team includes professor Peter Flach and doctoral students Sebastian Spiegler and Bruno Golenia. Their submission broke down the structure of words in five out of six languages — Finnish, German, Turkish, and Arabic with and without vowels; the program only failed in English. The program incorporated statistical models and algorithms that took advantage of Bristol's BlueCrystal computing cluster.

The Bristol team's program is one part of the university's interdisciplinary research theme, Exabyte Informatics, which studies the ramifications of having an almost unlimited data supply available to computer and Internet users. The program will be used as part of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) project that pioneers the research of machine-learning algorithms for morphology. The program also will help advance text-to-speech systems for South African languages such as Zulu and Xhosa. South Africa's Meraka Institute and the University of Witwatersrand also will participate in the EPSRC project.

From University of Bristol News
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