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New Methods, Current Trends and Software Infrastructure for NLP

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The increasing use of `new methods' in NLP, which the NeMLaP conference series exemplifies, occurs in the context of a wider shift in the nature and concerns of the discipline. This paper begins with a short review of this context and significant trends in the field. The review motivates and leads to a set of requirements for support software of general utility for NLP research and development workers. A freely-available system designed to meet these requirements is described (called GATE - a General Architecture for Text Engineering). Information Extraction (IE), in the sense defined by the Message Understanding Conferences (ARPA \cite{Arp95}), is an NLP application in which many of the new methods have found a home (Hobbs \cite{Hob93}; Jacobs ed. \cite{Jac92}). An IE system based on GATE is also available for research purposes, and this is described. Lastly we review related work.


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