Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Google - Translating

BTW, if the article is not accessible directly, goto Google News, search for the title, and go from there. At the moment most pay per view articles are free for Google users.

BTW BTW, this will be an area very difficult for Apple to compete in. Thought Apple has the cash reserves now, they don't have the expertise and no synergies to other areas of their business. They try already to catch up for maps.

BTW BTW BTW, the biggest progress in terms of artificial intelligence (well, since the invention of AI, whatever) is IMHO the Google Search database/engine. It is maybe not much more than a big big memory, but memory IS a VERY big part of intelligence! And every further software/module/engine/project can be build on top of that, with whatever new results and effects that might bring! However, and here is the problem with any further global progress and with Google itself, you better work for Google if you want to have the means and to have access to the goodies. Google has a treasure with nothing comparable in human history (gold, oil, land, resources, money, people, armies, you name it). And as you can see below, they intend on using it.

NY Times article: Google’s Computing Power Betters Translation Tool
Creating a translation machine has long been seen as one of the toughest challenges in artificial intelligence. For decades, computer scientists tried using a rules-based approach — teaching the computer the linguistic rules of two languages and giving it the necessary dictionaries.

But in the mid-1990s, researchers began favoring a so-called statistical approach. They found that if they fed the computer thousands or millions of passages and their human-generated translations, it could learn to make accurate guesses about how to translate new texts.

It turns out that this technique, which requires huge amounts of data and lots of computing horsepower, is right up Google’s alley.

“Our infrastructure is very well-suited to this,” Vic Gundotra, a vice president for engineering at Google, said. “We can take approaches that others can’t even dream of.”


“This technology can make the language barrier go away,” said Franz Och, a principal scientist at Google who leads the company’s machine translation team. “It would allow anyone to communicate with anyone else.”

Mr. Och, a German researcher who previously worked at the University of Southern California, said he was initially reluctant to join Google, fearing it would treat translation as a side project. Larry Page, Google’s other founder, called to reassure him.

“He basically said that this is something that is very important for Google,” Mr. Och recalled recently. Mr. Och signed on in 2004 and was soon able to put Mr. Page’s promise to the test.

While many translation systems like Google’s use up to a billion words of text to create a model of a language, Google went much bigger: a few hundred billion English words. “The models become better and better the more text you process,” Mr. Och said.

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