[Corpora-List] "Cargo cult" NLP?

Noah A Smith nasmith at cs.cmu.edu
Thu Apr 10 15:30:55 CEST 2014

Even in engineering, it is helpful to distinguish between client-driven problem solving and basic research. Those of us who consider ourselves researchers need to know how to appropriately use metrics in service of the larger goal (e.g., knowing that achieving better scores isn't an end in itself, but that better scores *can* be very compelling evidence), but we also don't have "clients." As a researcher, I would never tell a practitioner not to use something that works well for his/her problem, but practitioners should keep in mind that the usefulness horizon of basic research is much, much longer, and indeed much research is (and should be) done without worrying about eventual usefulness in practice. Don't like my research result? Okay, don't use it.

-- Noah Smith Associate Professor School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University

On Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 2:00 AM, Phil Gooch <philgooch at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 11:01 PM, John F Sowa <sowa at bestweb.net> wrote:
>> NLP is primarily a branch of engineering. The challenge for
>> an engineer is not to get a better score on some "metric", but
>> to solve a client's problem within the constraints of budgets,
>> deadlines, and available resources.
> I think this is very true. Some of the most successful NLP companies use
> quite simple techniques under the hood. Rule-based approaches (if well
> designed and modular) are popular with clients as they are easily
> understood and can be rapidly customised for a specific domain.
> Phil
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