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  1. HLT in the Baltics, 10 years after 1994 Steven Krauwer ELSNET / Utrecht University (NL) http://www.elsnet.org steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  2. Overview • About ELSNET • Back to 1994 • The 2004 picture • Where to go from here • Fragmentation • Your language(s) • Europe • Human and language resources • Concluding remarks steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  3. What is ELSNET • European Network in Human Language Technologies (ca 145 academic and industrial member organisations) • Funded by the European Commission • Created in 1991 • Objectives • bringing together the language and speech communities • bringing together academia and andustry • facilitating R&D in language and speech technology • Participation is free (conditions on website) • Info: elsnet@elsnet.org http://www.elsnet.org steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  4. My picture from 1994 • A rich variety of activities • Very few interconnections, much fragmentation • Poor computing and communication facilities • Poor access to publications • Clear willingness to collaborate (but few funding opportunities) • Access to some EU support through CEE oriented programs steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  5. My picture in 2004 • A rich variety of activities • Fragmented? See next slide • Dramatic improvement in computing and communication facilities • Better access to (electronic) publications • Clear willingness to collaborate, and (in 10 days time) full access to all EU programs steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  6. My fragmentation test • For industry: • count partnerships between HLT R&D parties • For academia: • count co-authorships of papers across institutions in the proceedings • count bibliographical references to others than (co-)authors (and their spiritual leaders) • homework for tonight! steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  7. Where to go from here? • Defragmentation by enhancing local cohesion • Watch your language • Join the European scene • Take care of your resources steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  8. Defragmentation • Make collaboration across institutions priority on your agenda • Use joint authorships as a measure • Analyze your bibliographical references from time to time • Exploit local and international programmes to move people around steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  9. Watch your language • Your language is a precious possession, but if you don’t take care of it, no one will • Speaking English may be a rather common thing for educated people, but for many people it isn’t – use your technologies to avoid a two class society • You are the best experts in your own language – exploit this before others do it! steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  10. Join the European scene • Lots of EU funding opportunities, but • Language and speech technology as such have disappeared from the FP6 research agenda: they will only be present as embedded technologies in other, much broader projects • the move from ‘spreading excellence’ (in earlier FPs) to ‘boosting excellence (in FP6) has severe consequences • Look at the participation figures in the successful projects of the 1st IST Call for Proposals for Interface Technologies steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  11. 1st IST Call (Interfaces)Participation per country steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  12. 1st IST Call (Interfaces)Top 8 countries steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  13. How to react to this? • Not recommended: • Accept the defeat of the smaller languages • Hope that the EU will do something special for the smaller languages to compensate • Recommended: • Make yourselves stronger • Be patient: language and speech technology may make a glorious come-back in FP7 – if only to prevent the EU from collapsing under the language problem steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  14. How to make yourselves stronger • Increase internal cohesion (defragmentation) • Exploit the fact that you are the top experts in your own language • Exploit the fact that many wheels have already been invented (although they may not yet be round enough for your own language) • Be prepared to look across discipline boundaries • Team up with stronger parties in Europe by • staff and student exchanges (exploit mobility funds) • making yourselves visible (at conferences and events) • focusing on a niche of expertise steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  15. Take care of your resources • Human resources: • Develop HLT curricula, preferably on a very interdisciplinary basis (e.g Euro-Masters) • Develop training programmes for professionals already working in the field • Language resources: • Ensure the availability of proper resources for your own language, at least for the purpose of research, precompetitive development and training • Join our BLARK action steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  16. The BLARK • Define the minimal set of language resources that is necessary to do any precompetitive R&D and education at all for a language (the Basic Language Resource Kit or BLARK) • Determine which components are already available • Make a priority plan to complete the BLARK steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  17. What makes the BLARK special? • The idea is to make a common generic BLARK definition, in principle applicable to all languages (i.e. a de facto standard) • The common definition will be based on the experience with different languages, and will prevent reinvention of wheels • The common definition will ensure interoperability and interconnectivity (especially for multilingual or cross-lingual applications) steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  18. Other BLARK benefits • Experience from other languages will help making cost estimations • Adoption of a BLARK common to all languages may help in persuading funders to support the creation of the BLARK • Adoption of a common BLARK may facilitate porting between languages steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  19. To conclude • Further development of Baltic HLT is a necessity for your society and an opportunity for your ICT • Defragmentation of R&D efforts is a must • Strengthen your position in Europe • Ensure optimal conditions for the development of human and language resources for your region steven.krauwer@elsnet.org

  20. Thank you! steven.krauwer@elsnet.org