NLE GRID Project - State of the Art and References


The following sections contain the state of the art and bibliographic references of the NLE GRID project proposal.

State of the Art

The use of distributed computing services in NLE is still at an early stage, compared to what has been achieved in areas like high energy physics and biology. In our view this is due to the lack of standardization and interoperability of most NLE tools.

Research laboratory like ours, that uses a considerable amount of NLE tools and modules, often face the problem of re-using these resources. These may have been produced in-house or they may be third-party modules. In either case, the task of managing them is not simple: for instance, some tool may be available but may be deemed to hard to reuse for a particular task, causing the redevelopment of a similar tool.

If reuse is a problem, the contact between old tools and new users is also a critical issue. The problem here is often in terms of the time required to acquire the necessary expertise to fully and productively use some resource.

To address the above issues, Matos (2003) proposed the Galinha system, a web-based user interface for building modular applications. The interface allows new users and non-specialists to assemble and test complex prototypes: the only requirement is a clear understanding of the meaning of the data used by each module - a requirement much less stringent than understanding the modules themselves.

The infrastructure used to support the interface is a partial implementation of the theoretical interconnection model proposed in Matos (2002). In the first stage, the Galaxy Communicator system (MIT, 2001) was selected to provide messaging support for the infrstructure's message exchanges.

A similar solution was proposed by Curran (2003) using of a Generative Programming approach for the development of NLE applications by the composition of elementary components like sentence boundary detectors, POS taggers, chunkers and named entity recognizers. This re-usable components can be optimized for both performance and high runtime efficiency. These components are encapsulated with standard interfaces for gluing them together into new tools. Curran also suggests the use of a web services interface to allow the composition of components developed by different researchers running in different locations.

Hughes and Bird (2003) proposed the extension of the component-based architecture to integrate interfaces with computational GRID services. In this project we plan to build on that proposal and to integrate it into the Galinha system.

A computational GRID allows for large-scale analysis, distributed resources and processing, in addition to engendering new models for collaboration and application development. Foster et al (2001, 2002) provides a physiological and an anatomical overview of GRID computing services and provides foundational architectures for application development in the GRID space.

To benefit from the use of a computational GRID, NLE applications need to subscribe an architectural model that allows automated discovery of components and data, a flexible way to incorporate the different components in a working application, coordination of execution and storage of results. The goal is to allow NLE researchers to design their applications for a computational GRID without requiring expertise in GRID computing.


  • J. Curran. Blueprint for a High Performance NLP Infrastructure. Proceedings of the HLT-NAACL 2003 Workshop on Software Engineering and Architecture of Language Technology Systems, Edmonton, Canada pp. 39-44. ACL. 2003.
  • H. Cunningham, Y. Wilks, and R. J. Gaizauskas. GATE - a General Architecture for Text Engineering. In Proc. of the 16th Conf. on Computational Linguistics (COLING96), Copenhagen, 1996.
  • Rajkumar Buyya, David Abramson and Jonathan Giddy. NimrodG Resource Broker for Service Oriented Grid Computing. IEEE Distributed Systems Online, Vol. 2, N. 7, November 2001.
  • Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman, J Nick, Steven Tuecke. The Physiology of the Grid - An Open Grid Services Architecture for Distributed Systems Integration. Global Grid Forum, June 22, 2002.
  • Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman, Steven Tuecke. The anatomy of the grid: Enabling scalable virtual organisations. International Journal of Supercomputer Applications, 15(3), 2001
  • Globus Project. The Globus Project. University of Chicago
  • David Graff. English Gigaword. Linguistic Data Consortium, 2002
  • Baden Hughes and Steven Bird. A Grid Based Architecture for High-Performance NLP. Natural Language Engineering, 2003.
  • Ricardo Ribeiro, David M. de Matos, and Nuno Mamede. How to integrate data from different sources. Proc. of the INTERA Workshop "A Registry of Linguistic Data Categories within an Integrated Language Resources Repository Area". ELRA. May 2004.
  • F. Batista and Nuno Mamede. Flexible Module for Shallow Parsing, Using Preferences. TASHA'2003 - Workshop on Tagging and Shallow Processing of Portuguese, Oct. 2003.
  • Ricardo Ribeiro and Nuno Mamede and Isabel Trancoso. Reusing Linguistic Resources: a Case Study in Morphosyntactic Tagging. TASHA'2003 - Workshop on Tagging and Shallow Processing of Portuguese, Oct. 2003.
  • R. Ribeiro, L. Oliveira, I. Trancoso. Using Morphossyntactic Information in TTS Systems: Comparing Strategies for European Portuguese. Proc. PROPOR'2003 Faro, Portugal, June 2003
  • S. Paulo, L. Oliveira. Multilevel Annotation Of Speech Signals Using Weighted Finite State Transducers. Proc. 2002 IEEE Workshop on Speech Synthesis Santa Monica, California, September 2002
  • D. M. de Matos, A. Mateus, J. Graca, and N. J. Mamede. Empowering the User: a Data-oriented Application-Building Framework. In Adj. Proc. of the 7th ERCIM Workshop "User Interfaces for All", pages 37-44, Chantilly, France, October 2002.
  • M. C. Viana and Luis C. Oliveira and A. I. Mata. Prosodic Phrasing: Machine and Human Evaluation International Journal of Speech Technology, 6(1), pp. 83-94, Jan. 2003, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • David M. de Matos, Ricardo Ribeiro, and Nuno Mamede. Rethinking Reusable Resources. Proc. of the International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC'2004, ELRA. May 2004.
  • Sergio Manuel Gaspar Ferreira Paulo and Luis C. Oliveira. DTW-based Phonetic Alignment Using Multiple Acoustic Features EUROSPEECH'2003 - 8th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology, Sep. 2003
  • David Matos and Joana Paulo and Nuno Mamede. Managing Linguistic Resources and Tools. Proc. of the 6th Intl. Workshop, PROPOR 2003, Jun. 2003 , pp. 135--142 , Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.