Archive for February, 2011

Elementary, my dear @IBMWatson!

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Or perhaps that should be “Jeopardy, my dear Watson”. By now, you’ve hopefully heard of the IBM project called Watson to develop a computer capable of competing on the quiz show Jeopardy. Scratch that, not just competing, but competing against two of the best players the show has ever had. And, if Watson works as designed, beating them.

I’ve been a fan of Jeopardy since I was a kid, so that angle of the story interested me from the start. But watching segments on NOVA about the project team addressed the challenges in developing a machine capable of understanding human language, it struck me as very relevant to the challenges we face in text analytics engine. If you haven’t heard much about Watson, I highly recommend the video “Building Watson – A Brief Overview of the DeepQA Project”. Without a doubt, Watson goes far beyond the applications we are dealing with. But there is synergy (buzzword bingo score) in the fundamental building blocks and approach, and it’s very exciting to see where this can all head. Here’s some of the core problems text analytics problems that Watson faces, and how they relate to us.

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Short term fix for sentiment memory leak

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

One of the benefits of producing software for developers is that you get to work with some really smart folks as customers. And sometimes, they bring issues to our attention that we’ve missed. Such is the case with a small memory leak that was brought to our attention by DataSift recently. They are one of the few customers that work with our C API, so they’ve gotten familiar with Salience Engine at the lowest level we expose. We worked with Ben at DataSift to characterize the leak and develop a workaround pending a fix in a future release of Salience Engine. This article details the leak that was discovered and the interim workaround. A permanent fix will be included in our next update of Salience 4.4.

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