"If you're a professional mathematician, you probably regard a tool like
SPSS or Mathematica as necessary infrastructure for your work. If you're a
computational linguist or a language engineer, the chances are that large
parts of your work have no such infrastructural support, and attempts over
the last decade to develop one have not been very successful. GATE,
developed over the last three years at the University of Sheffield, aims to
fill this gap.
What does infrastructure mean for natural language processing (NLP)? What
sorts of tasks should be delegated to a general tool, and which should be
left to individual projects? GATE does three things:
manages textual data storage and exchange;
allows easy visualisation of textual data structures;
provides plug-in modularity of text processing components.
Based on the collective experiences of a sizeable user base accross the EU
and elsewhere, the system can claim to be the Mathematica of NLP for certain
sections of the field. Given further development, we hope that it can take
this role for a wide variety of tasks. "
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