The SRI AI Center Natural Language Program does research on natural language processing theory and applications. The Program has three subgroups.
Multimedia/Multimodal Interfaces, including Natural Language, led by David Martin: The aim of this group is to understand the optimal ways in which natural language can be incorporated into multimedia interfaces. Research ranges from empirical studies of how pen-voice systems are used most effectively, to the implementation of synergistic multimodal interfaces incorporating handwritten, verbal and gestural input, to multimedia communication between a user and a society of software agents arranged in a distributed Open Agent Architecture.
Spoken Language Systems, led by David Israel : This group does research on integrating linguistic processing with speech recognition, both to make speech recognition more accurate and to use the results of speech recognition in practical applications. Much of the work focuses on the development of Gemini, a natural-language parsing and semantic interpretation system based on unification grammar. Applications include ATIS, a system for retrieving airline schedules, fares, and related information from a relational database, its successor program Communicator , which is aimed at exploring the design and evaluation of spoken dialogue systems, with an emphasis on live data, plug-and-play components, and portability to new domains. and CommandTalk, a spoken-language interface to synthetic forces in military battlefield simulations.
Written Language Systems, led by David Israel: This group does research on the problems involved in interpreting and extracting information from written text, such as on-line newspaper articles. The research ranges from more theoretical and experimental work on the use of inference and commonsense knowledge in full text understanding, to more applied work on very fast information extraction using cascaded finite-state methods. The latter is the basis of the FASTUS[tm] and TextPro systems, which are being used in a constellation of projects. This technology was also the core technology that seeded Discern Communications, a recent SRI spinoff.
The Program Director of the Natural Language Program is David Israel.