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Johns Hopkins, U Maryland Open Language Tech Center

Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland have been tapped by the United States Department of Defense to create and operate a high-tech language analysis center that would focus on developing systems for automatically analyzing a range of speech, text, and document image data in multiple languages.

The Human Language Technology Center of Excellence, which would be located near Johns Hopkins' campus in Baltimore, MD, will be funded through a contract signed earlier this year valued at a minimum of $48.4 million through 2015.

"The government is facing a massive information overload," said Gary W. Strong, who was named executive director of the center, with James K. Baker as director of research. "We need a better way to sort, filter and call attention to important material buried within enormous amounts of multilingual data being produced every day in other nations."

"The government does not have nearly enough people with the multiple language skills needed to review this material. We need to develop technology to help," he added.

The center will staffed by researchers from both Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland.

Amy Weinberg, a University of Maryland linguist and computer scientist who will work at the center, told the Associated Press that researchers plan to take advantage of an ongoing revolution in language technology.
"We're getting much better at making machines smart enough to help people rapidly judge what's significant in a message," she said.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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