Enjoyable and interesting controlled natural languages workshop (CNL’14)

Conferencing in Ireland was a good experience again. Like EKAW 2012, the Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14) was held in the Aula Maxima at the University of Galway, a beautiful ivy-covered building conducive of a stimulating scientific atmosphere and, as any good event, one leaves with plenty of ideas to pursue, and it was a good ambience to meet up again with colleagues as well as meeting new ones, such as Allan Third of the SWAT natural language tools that we use in the ROMULUS foundational ontology library. The remainder of this post is a quick write-up about several of the papers and presentations, written during an otherwise lost moment at Dublin airport.

If you’re not too familiar with CNLs, a useful brief overview to start with is Safwat and Davis’ state of the art [1]. However, some of you might first prefer to read something that is one of the answers to “what would it be good for?”; in that case, I can highly recommend the paper on automatically generating the Swiss avalanche bulleting in 4 languages [2], presented by Kurt Winkler: not only their participants found it very difficult to figure out which ones were manually generated and which ones automatically (55% correct, on average), but also the CNL attendees had trouble with ‘guessing’ it right (yeah, including me). From a technical perspective, it uses a catalogue-based translation system with chunks of text segments. Rather more theoretical were the two papers on the Grammatical Framework. The first one was the invited talk by Aarne Ranta [3] about embedded controlled languages. He provided a brief overview of GF (which started in 1998 at Xerox in Grenoble) up to the current state in the EU project Molto for multilingual machine translation, and different levels of quality of the generated text. Inari Listenmaa presented an extension to the system so that GF will be able to handle compositionality [4].

Interesting to me was the question whether CNLs exist for generating text about temporal events, in part because I’ve another strand of research on temporal conceptual data modelling. Not everyone agreed whether there was anything other than simple stories, but it was hard to find much about it (if you do or know of it, please leave a pointer in the comments). Gordon Pace presented results on verbalizing finite state machines (events with properties), in particular violation traces through the FSM [5]; e.g., when one has a process for logins and failed logins that is violated, the sysadmin needs to know what has happened, and ideally be informed about what essentially went wrong in an intelligible way, and summarized rather than having to pour over endless logs.

On the multilingual front for less common languages, there were two papers for Latvian involving FrameNet for their controlled natural language [6,7], and Langa Khumalo presented our joint paper about isiZulu natural language generation [8] about which I blogged earlier.

Last, but not least—and, more precisely: first—the best paper award. It was awarded to two papers, being to the paper on technical text authoring by Juyeon Kang and Patrick Saint-Dizier [9] and to the paper on style guides as controlled languages, by Karolina Suchowolec [10].

The next CNL workshop will be held in about 2 years time, also most likely co-located with a larger conference (now it was co-located with COLING in Dublin), and some other activities are also in the pipeline, such as a mailing list, wiki etc. so it will be easier for people to stay tuned with the latest developments in CNLs. I’m already looking forward to the next installment of the event.

References

Note: all links are to the CRCs posted on arxiv; the final versions formatted by Springer are on the Springer site (behind a paywall for most people).

[1] Hazem Safwat and Brian Davis. A Brief State of the Art of CNLs for Ontology Authoring. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 190-200. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[2] Kurt Winkler, Tobias Kuhn and Martin Volk. Evaluating the fully automatic multi-language translation of the Swiss avalanche bulletin. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 44-54. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[3] Aarne Ranta. Embedded Controlled Languages. (invited paper). Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 1-7. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[4] Ramona Enache, Inari Listenmaa and Prasanth Kolachina. Handling non-compositionality in multilingual CNLs. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 147-154. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[5] Gordon Pace and Michael Rosner. Explaining Violation Traces with Finite State Natural Language Generation Models. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 179-189. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[6] Guntis Barzdins. FrameNet CNL: a Knowledge Representation and Information Extraction Language. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 90-101. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[7] Dana Dannells and Normunds Gruzitis. Controlled Natural Language Generation from a Multilingual FrameNet-based Grammar. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 155-166. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[8] C. Maria Keet and Langa Khumalo. Toward verbalizing ontologies in isiZulu. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 78-89. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[9] Juyeon Kang and Patrick Saint-Dizier. Towards an Error Correction Memory to Enhance Technical Texts Authoring in LELIE. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 55-65. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

[10] Karolina Suchowolec. Are Style Guides Controlled Languages? The Case of Koenig & Bauer AG. Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL’14). Springer LNAI vol 8625, 112-122. 20-22 Aug, 2014, Galway, Ireland.

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