Prof. Reind van de Riet

Free Universtity, Amsterdam
(emeritus professor, Editor for Europe: Data & Knowledge Engineering)

"LIKE: the use of Linguistics in Software and Knowledge Engineering, in particular for Information Systems Design"

In Software and Knowledge Engineering the objects to be designed are usually of a rather technical nature, certainly in the past. As computer applications are becoming part of daily life, these objects become more and more common. That means that the semantics of these objects can be described in ordinary natural language and chances are high that these semantics have been defined by linguists in dictionaries for the large collections of common words and in lexicons for special areas (like the medical world). Obviously then the question can be posed:

can Software and Knowledge Engineering profit from these lexicons?

An important part of the lecture is about this question and we will show that a certain linguistic theory: Functional Grammar is a very useful tool. Also we will see how WordNet can profitably be used in this area, in particular when Information Systems are to be designed.

For validation purposes natural language can be used very well as a communication means between the software engineer and the customer. This may work in two ways: input in the form of (structured) natural language sentences which are analyzed and automatically transformed in formal diagrams (such as ER diagrams) and as output to show the customer the meaning of such diagrams in a more natural user-friendly form. This will constitute the second part of the lecture.

A third part is devoted to the question: if we as Information System developers were to design a Lexicon, as an extension of WordNet, what would we put in it as relations between concepts? Actually, we will come close to the area of Ontologies, more or less a hype in Computer Science nowadays.

Zeit: Montag, 09.05.2005, 17.15 Uhr
Ort: Gebäude 46, Raum 280