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FASTUS

FASTUS  Principal Investigators:  Jerry R Hobbs , David J Israel

Mailing address:
AI Center
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3493

AIC Program:  Natural Language

Project home page at http://www.ai.sri.com/natural-language/projects/fastus.html

   Project Description

FASTUS is a (slightly permuted) acronym for Finite State Automata-based Text Understanding System. It is a system for extracting information from free text. Currently English and Japanese versions of the system exist. Typical applications mark text with annotations that indicate items of interest, such as names of people or companies, or it fills database templates with information that could be then entered into a relational database.

FASTUS was developed in response to the needs of the intelligence community for scanning and processing huge volumes of written texts. Government intelligence agencies collect information from around the world from both classified and unclassified sources. Assimilating important facts from this data can be a daunting task for an analyst. One analyst described the problem by saying that, ``If I read every bit of information that might be important to what I am working on, it would be like reading War and Peace every day.’’ FASTUS provides the analyst with a tool that will help him or her to avoid being overwhelmed by the flood of information.

FASTUS is most appropriate for information extraction tasks, rather than full text understanding. That is, it is most effective for tasks in which (1) only parts of the text contain relevent information, and (2) there is a relatively simple, predefined target representation that the information is mapped into.

FASTUS has been under development since 1992. The system is implemented in Common Lisp, and has been transported to several hardware platforms, including Macs and PCs.

   Personnel

Name Title E-mail
Appelt, Doug E Alumnus
Bear, John S Alumnus
Hobbs, Jerry R Alumnus
Israel, David J Program Director
Kameyama, Megumi Alumnus
Kehler, Andy Alumnus
Martin, David L Senior Computer Scientist
Myers, Karen Program Director & Principal Scientist
Stickel, Mark E Principal Scientist
Tyson, Mabry Senior Computer Scientist

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