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Introduction to Natural Language Processing

History of Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP is a relatively new field of study that has only gained popularity in recent years. However, the concept of NLP has been around for over 60 years. In the 1950s, computer scientists began to experiment with machine translation of languages. The Georgetown experiment of 1954 was the first attempt at machine translation, and it involved Russian to English translation. This experiment was a failure, and machine translation was deemed impossible.

Chomsky's theory of transformational generative grammar

In the 1960s, the concept of NLP was further developed with the introduction of Chomsky's theory of transformational generative grammar. This theory proposed that language is a system of rules that could be modeled mathematically. This theory had a significant impact on the development of NLP, as it provided a framework for understanding language structure.

Commercially successful NLP system

In the 1970s, the first commercially successful NLP system was developed. The system, called SHRDLU, was a natural language understanding program that could understand simple commands in English. The system was developed by Terry Winograd at MIT and demonstrated that NLP systems could be practical.

Shift towards statistical models

In the 1980s and 1990s, NLP research shifted towards statistical models. The introduction of the Hidden Markov Model (HMM) allowed for the development of statistical language models. These models are based on the probability of a word occurring given the context of the surrounding words. This shift towards statistical models allowed for significant improvements in speech recognition and machine translation.

Today's NLP

Today, NLP is a rapidly developing field with applications in areas such as sentiment analysis, speech recognition, and chatbots. The field is constantly evolving, and new techniques are being developed to improve NLP performance.

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