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Ideas for Google Summer of Code

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This is the ideas page for Google Summer of Code, here you can find ideas on interesting projects that would make Apertium more useful for people and improve or expand our functionality. If you have an idea please add it below, if you think you could mentor someone in a particular area, add your name to "Interested mentors" using ~~~

The page is intended as an overview of the kind of projects we have in mind. If one of them particularly piques your interest, please come and discuss with us on #apertium on irc.freenode.net, mail the mailing list, or draw attention to yourself in some other way.

Note that, if you have an idea that isn't mentioned here, we would be very interested to hear about it.

Here are some more things you could look at:

List format proposals

Adopt a language pair
How ? What ? Why ? Who ?
XML, a scripting language (Python, Perl), good knowledge of the language pair adopted. Take on an orphaned language pair, and bring it up to release quality results. What this quality will be will depend on the language pair adopted, and will need to be discussed with the prospective mentor. This will involve writing linguistic data (including morphological rules and transfer rules — which are specified in a declarative language — and possibly Constraint Grammar rules if that is relevant) Apertium has a few pairs of languages (e.g. mt-he, ga-gd, ur-hi, id-ms, pl-cs, etc...) that are orphaned, they don't have active maintainers. A lot of these pairs have a lot of work already put in, just need another few months to get them to release quality. See also Incubator Francis Tyers, Jimregan, Kevin Scannell, Trondtr, Unhammer, Darthxaher, Firespeaker
4. Entry level read more...
Discontiguous multiwords
How ? What ? Why ? Who ?
C++, Knowledge of FSTs The task will be to develop, or adapt a module to deal with these kind of contiguous multiword expressions, for example, taking 'liggja ekki fyrir' and reordering it as 'liggja# fyrir ekki'. In many languages, such as English, Norwegian and Icelandic, there are discontiguous multiwords, e.g. phrasal verbs, that we cannot easily support. For example 'liggja ekki fyrir' in Icelandic should be translated in English as 'to be not clear', but we cannot have 'liggja fyrir' as a traditional multiword because of the extra 'adverb', or it could even be a whole NP. Francis Tyers, Jimregan
3. Medium read more...


List

Note: The table below is sortable by column. Click on the little squares below or next to the headers.

Task Difficulty Description Rationale Requirements Interested
mentor
Adopt a
language pair read more...
4. Entry level Take on an orphaned language pair, and bring it up to release quality results. What this quality will be will depend on the language pair adopted, and will need to be discussed with the prospective mentor. This will involve writing linguistic data (including morphological rules and transfer rules — which are specified in a declarative language — and possibly Constraint Grammar rules if that is relevant) Apertium has a few pairs of languages (e.g. mt-he, ga-gd, ur-hi, id-ms, pl-cs, etc...) that are orphaned, they don't have active maintainers. A lot of these pairs have a lot of work already put in, just need another few months to get them to release quality. See also Incubator XML, a scripting language (Python, Perl), good knowledge of the language pair adopted. Francis Tyers, Jimregan, Kevin Scannell, Trondtr, Unhammer, Darthxaher, Firespeaker
Discontiguous multiwords read more... 3. Medium The task will be to develop, or adapt a module to deal with these kind of contiguous multiword expressions, for example, taking 'liggja ekki fyrir' and reordering it as 'liggja# fyrir ekki'. In many languages, such as English, Norwegian and Icelandic, there are discontiguous multiwords, e.g. phrasal verbs, that we cannot easily support. For example 'liggja ekki fyrir' in Icelandic should be translated in English as 'to be not clear', but we cannot have 'liggja fyrir' as a traditional multiword because of the extra 'adverb', or it could even be a whole NP. C++, Knowledge of FSTs Francis Tyers, Jimregan
Flag diacritics in lttoolbox read more...
C14N
2. Hard Adapt lttoolbox to elegantly use flag diacritics. Flag diacritics are a way of avoiding transducer size blow-up by discarding impossible paths at runtime as opposed to compile time. This will involve designing some changes to our XML dictionary format (see lttoolbox, and implementing the associated changes in the FST compiling processing code. The reason behind this is that many languages have prefix inflection, and we cannot currently deal with this without either making paradigms useless, or overanalysing (e.g. returning analyses where none exist). Flag diacritics (or constraints) would allow us to restrict overanalysis without blowing up the size of our dictionaries. C++ or Java, XML, Knowledge of FSTs Francis Tyers (not Java), Jacob Nordfalk
Improve integration of
lttoolbox in libvoikko and libhfst read more...
3. Medium Dictionaries from lttoolbox can now be used for spellchecking directly with libvoikko (see Spell checking). The idea of this project is to improve the integration. Fix bugs, look at ways of codifying "standard"/"sub-standard" forms in our dictionaries. Spell checkers can be useful, for languages other than English moreso. They are one of the "must have" items of language technology. If we can re-use Apertium data for this purpose it will help both the project (by making creating new language pairs more rewarding) and the language communities (by making more useful software). XML, C++. Francis Tyers
Complex multiwords 2. Hard Write a bidirectional module for specifying complex multiword units, for example dirección general and zračna luka. See Multiwords for more information. Although in the Romance languages it is not a big problem, as soon as you start to get to languages with cases (e.g. Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, German, etc.) the problem comes that you can't define a multiword of adj nom because the adjective has a lot of inflection. Java or C++, XML, Knowledge of FSTs Jimregan
Detect 'hidden' unknown words read more... 3. Medium The part-of-speech tagger of Apertium can be modified to work out the likelihood of each 'tag' in a certain context, this can be used to detect missing entries in the dictionary. Apertium dictionaries may have incomplete entries, that is, surface forms (lexical units as they appear in running texts) for which the dictionary does not provide all the possible lexical forms (consisting of lemma, part-of-speech and morphological inflection information). As those surface form for which there is at least one lexical form cannot be considered unknown words, it is difficult to know whether all lexical forms for a given surface form have been included in the dictionaries or not. This feature will detect 'possible' missing lexical forms for those surface forms in the dictionaries. C++ if you plan to modify the part-of-speech tagger; whatever if rewriting it from scratch. Felipe Sánchez-Martínez
Geriaoueg
vocabulary assistant
4. Entry level Extend Geriaoueg so that it works more reliably with broken HTML and with any given language pair. Geriaoueg is a program that provides "popup" vocabulary assistance, something like BBC Vocab or Lingro. Currently it only works with Breton--French, Welsh--English and Spanish--Breton. This task would be to develop it to work with any language in our SVN and fix problems with processing and displaying non-standard HTML. PHP, C++, XML Francis Tyers
Improvements to target-language tagger training read more... 2. Hard Modify apertium-tagger-training-tools so that it can deals with n-stage transfer rules when segmenting the input source-language text, and applies a k-best viterbi pruning approach that does not require to compute the a-priori likelihood of every disambiguation path before pruning. apertium-tagger-training-tools is a program for doing target-language tagger training, meaning it improves POS tagging performance specifically for the translation task, achieving a result for unsupervised training comparable with supervised training. This task would also require switching the default perl-based language model to either IRSTLM or RandLM (or both!). C++, XML, XSLT Felipe Sánchez-Martínez
Accent and diacritic
restoration read more...
3. Medium Create an optional module to restore diacritics and accents on input text, and integrate it into the Apertium pipeline. Many languages use diacritics and accents in normal writing, and Apertium is designed to use these, however in some places, especially for example. instant messaging, irc, searching in the web etc. these are often not used or untyped. This causes problems as for the engine, traduccion is not the same as traducción. C, C++, XML, familiarity with linguistic issues, knowledge of FSTs preferable Kevin Scannell, Trondtr
VM for the transfer module read more... 3. Medium VM for the current transfer architecture of Apertium and for the future transfers, pure C++ Define an instruction set for a virtual machine that processes transfer code, then implement a prototype in Python, then porting to C++. The rationale behind this is that XML tree-walking is quite slow and CPU intensive. In modern (3 or more stage) pairs, transfer takes up most of the CPU. There are other options, like Bytecode for transfer, but we would like something that does not require external libraries and is adapted specifically for Apertium. Python, C/C++, XML, XSLT, code optimisation, JIT techniques, etc. Sortiz
Hybrid MT 2. Hard Building Apertium-Marclator rule-based/corpus-based hybrids Both the rule-based machine translation system Apertium and the corpus-based machine translation system Marclator do some kind of chunking of the input as well as use a relatively straightforward left-to-right machine translation strategy. This has been explored before but there are other ways to organize hybridization which should be explored (the mentor is happy to discuss). Hybridization may make it easier to adapt Apertium to a particular corpus by using chunk pairs derived from it. Knowledge of Java, C++, and scripting languages, and appreciation for research-like coding projects Mlforcada, Jimregan
Regular expressions in lt-tmxproc read more... 2. Hard Adding regex support to lt-tmxproc would maximise the amount of translations we can get from an available TMX. lt-tmxproc already includes some limited support for making translation units in a TMX file into something of a template, but only for digits. Gintrowicz and Jassem describe an interesting idea, using user-definable regular expressions, to turn items such as dates into templates. lttoolbox already has support for a subset of regular expressions; add a mechanism to allow the user to make use of this, and to include these regular expressions in processing. C++, Knowledge of FSTs Jimregan
Quality control framework 3. Medium Write a unified testing framework for released language pairs in Apertium. The system should be able to track both regressions with respect to previous versions, and quality checks with respect to previous quality evaluations. We are gradually improving our quality control, with (semi-)automated tests, but these are done on the Wiki on an ad-hoc basis. Having a unified testing framework would allow us to be able to more easily track quality improvements over all language pairs, and more easily deal with regressions. See [1] PHP or Python Francis Tyers
Rule-based finite-state disambiguation
C14N
2. Hard Currently Apertium only has a bigram/trigram part-of-speech tagger. The objective of this task would be to implement a disambiguation framework for Apertium that can be expressed as a finite-state transducer. It might be a good idea to express this as constraint rules, in a novel XML-based file format. For some languages, bigram/trigram POS disambiguation really doesn't work, especially when you want to disambiguate morphology (e.g. number, case) along with part-of-speech. So far we've been using constraint grammar for some of these languages. But although Constraint Grammar is great and powerful, it is also pretty slow. It would be a good idea to look at LanguageTool, and IceParser to get ideas on how this might be accomplished. XML, C++ Francis Tyers
Tree-based reordering read more... 2. Hard Currently we have a problem with very distantly related languages that have long-distance constituent reordering. Some languages have dependency parsers which create graphs of words. The purpose of this task would be to create a module that comes before or after apertium-transfer which reorders the graph. XML, C++ Francis Tyers
Dictionary induction from wikis 3. Medium Extract dictionaries from linguistic wikis Wiki dictionaries and encyclopedias (e.g. omegawiki, wiktionary, wikipedia, dbpedia) contain information (e.g. bilingual equivalences, morphological features, conjugations) that could be exploited to speed up the development of dictionaries for Apertium. This task aims at automatically building dictionaries by extracting different pieces of information from wiki structures such as interlingual links, infoboxes and/or from dbpedia RDF datasets. MySQL, mediawiki syntax, perl, maybe C++ or Java; Java, Scala, RDF, and DBpedia to use DBpedia extraction Atoral, Jimregan (dbpedia extraction only)
Inferring transfer rules with active learning 2. Hard Re-working apertium-transfer-training-tools to get more general rules. The right level of generalisation can be achieved by asking non-expert users to validate examples. Apertium-transfer-training-tools generates shallow-transfer rules from aligned parallel corpora. The corpus-extracted rules provide a translation quality comparable with the expert-written ones. However, human-written rules are more general and easier to mantain. The purpose of this task is to reduce the number of inferred rules while keeping translation quality. Gaps in the information elicited from the parallel corpus are filled with knowledge from non-expert users to achieve the right degree of generalisation. C++, general knowledge of GIZA++, XML. Víctor M. Sánchez-Cartagena
Active learning to choose among paradigms which share superficial forms 2. Hard Developing an active learning algorithm to choose the most appropriate paradigm (in a monolingual dictionary) for a new word. Previous research work allows us to reduce the problem to a set of paradigms which share superficial forms but not lexical forms. Current research on the addition of entries to a monolingual dictionary by non-expert users has partially solved the problem of choosing the best paradigm for a new word. However, when different paradigms share all the lexical forms the problem becomes harder. In such case, it is necessary to ask the users to validate sentences in which the word to be added acts as different lexical forms. Such sentences may be extracted from a monolingual corpus. XML, Java, Web technologies. Víctor M. Sánchez-Cartagena, Miquel Esplà-Gomis
Optimising paradigms 3. Medium Developing a tool to simplify the paradigms in monolingual dictionaries in order to minimise the redundancy. The collaborative improvement of dictionaries can cause some degree of redundancy in paradigms (it is frequent to find paradigms generating a very similar set of lexical forms). Although apertium-dixtools includes an option to remove identical paradigms, this task consists in the implementation of a tool to reduce the redundancy in paradigms by generating all the lexical forms and restructuring the paradigms. XML, Java. Miquel Esplà-Gomis
Corpus-based distinction between verb/pronoun
combinations in Romance languages
2. Hard Write a module which learns to distinguish between different translations of pronouns/verbs in Romance languages, e.g. "se come bien", "él se come", etc. Some constructions are ambiguous in Romance languages (e.g. Spanish). One of these are verb/pronoun combinations, however, with any verb, some combinations are more likely than others. C++, XML
Corpus-based definiteness transfer 3. Medium Develop a program that uses information from corpora to improve the transfer of definiteness between language pairs which have it. Languages treat definiteness differently, some using it more than others, in Apertium we typically just transfer it as is, but this has problems. read more... C++, XML, python linguistics Francis Tyers
Notes
  • C14N stands for canonicalisation. These projects are intended to make it easier to develop new language pairs using Apertium without having to resort to non-Apertium modules.

Further reading

Transfer rule learning
Target-language driven part-of-speech tagger training
Regular expressions in lt-tmxproc
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