From Aberdeen’s ancient school of learning has arisen natural language generation, one of the most advanced technologies ever developed
The scientific foundation for Arria’s NLG technology is based on more than 30-years of research and development by our Chief Scientists at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. The University’s global leadership in the field of NLG is unparalleled and stems directly from the University’s dedication to the evolution of language for over 520 years.
It is important to understand that the emergence of the revolutionary Natural Language Generation (NLG) technology from the computer science labs at the University was not a random event but rather was the logical next chapter in the story of the evolution of language observed, recorded and celebrated by the University since 1495.
This story began in 1495, when Bishop Elphinstone made an epic journey from Rome to Aberdeen in Scotland. With him, he carried the Papal Bull of Pope Alexander VI which instructed him to;
“Found a university which would be open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others”
Believing that primitive man became noble through the Power of Language, the Bishop carried with him his priceless collection of 200 ancient artifacts of language. At the same time as his stonemasons were laying the foundations of his new seat of learning, he bequeathed to the university his collection of artifacts which included his own manuscripts.
With the bequeath of his artifacts of language, Bishop Elphinstone laid the original foundations of the university’s enduring dedication to the Evolution of Language. Consistent with the foundational intentions of Bishop Elphinstone, over the past 500 years, the University’s alumni and other benefactors have collected and bequeathed to the University an extraordinary collection of artifacts which record the evolution of written language. So strong was the Bishop’s intention, the original collection of 200 artifacts grew to become 200,000 priceless literary treasures that trace the evolution of written language back as early as the 3rd century BC.
Above is an example of one of University’s priceless literary treasures, the Prayers of and to St Bridget which is part of a 15th-century manuscript known as the Burnet Psalter. This manuscript was bequeathed to the University by one of its most famous graduates, Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715), Bishop of Salisbury, historian, theological writer, and advisor to William III.
These treasures, together with Bishop Elphinstone’s manuscripts and the original Papal Bull are all preserved in the University’s Special Collections Center in special vaults which are located under the floor of the University’s iconic library building (pictured at the top of this page).
THE EMERGENCE OF NATURAL LANGUAGE GENERATION
It can now be clearly understood why it is stated that the emergence of NLG was not a random event. It was Bishop Elphinstone’s pure intention that inspired the University’s 520 years of dedication to writing its chapters in the timeless story of the evolution of language. This inspiration created 200,000 priceless literary treasures preserved in the University’s vaults. From these vaults emerged the revolutionary technology we now call Arria Natural Language Generation (NLG). The modern-day foundation for the emergence of NLG took form in 1972 when, at the dawn of the digital revolution, University leaders identified computing as a key field of scientific endeavor and founded its Computing Science Department. What we now refer to as the Science of Natural Language Generation truly took form when in 1995, Arria Chief Scientist Prof. Ehud Reiter founded the Aberdeen NLG Group. This game-changing group grew to become the largest NLG group in the world in terms of people, publications, and projects. As the Aberdeen NLG Group began making its NLG breakthroughs, the rise of Big Data began to gather its momentum and as history now shows set the stage for the not only the emergence of NLG as a breakthrough AI technology but also the demand of NLG and all of the other interdependent technologies that power the Datasphere as we know it today.
THE SCIENCE OF NATURAL LANGUAGE GENERATION
One of outcomes of the group’s work was defining the Goal of the Science of Natural Language Generation; To discover how to GIVE MACHINES the ability to:
- Receive inputs
- Reason over those inputs
- Determine what is important
- Communicate the insights to others using natural language
Today, the goal of the Science of Natural Language Generation has been attained.
PUBLICATION OF THE TEXTBOOK ON NLG
In 2000, Arria Chief Scientist, Prof. Ehud Reiter co-authored and published Building Natural Language Generation Systems. This seminal treatise was published by Cambridge University Press and is today widely considered to be the textbook on NLG. Also in 2000, Arria Chief Scientist, Dr. Yaji Sripada joined the University of Aberdeen NLG Group.
THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF NLG
In 2009, the University, together with Arria’s chief scientists and others, formed Data2Text Limited to realize the global commercial potential of the breakthrough NLG software technologies flowing from its computer science labs and its world-leading NLG scientists.
In 2013, Arria completed the acquisition of Data2Text and its NLG technologies. Today, both the University of Aberdeen and Arria’s Chief scientists are significant founding shareholders in Arria.
ADDING THE POWER OF LANGUAGE
Today, Arria leads the world in the commercialization of NLG driven by the legacy of language upon which all of NLG capabilities are built. When we state that through NLG technologies, we add the Power of Language to your AI, it is this unparalleled understanding and legacy of language that is built into the narratives generated by the Arria NLG Engine.
Just as the communication skills of humans are not equal, the quality of NLG narratives generated by NLG providers is not equal. Not only does the Power of Language define our humanity, it also defines what Arria does;
- We do language.
- We bring the Power of Language to your AI.
It is for this reason we contend that no other NLG provider can generate narratives that are can be as varied, rich and compelling as those generated by the Arria NLG Engine.
- It is hard enough to listen to a monotonous, repetitive, robotic human.
- It is even harder to do listen to the same from an AI.
While your customers may accept other forms of output from an artificial intelligence application that is less than human, they will reject outright any language output that is less than human. Arria adds the Power of Language to your AI.
BUILDING THE LEGACY OF LANGUAGE
Our Vision and Mission statements as well as our Mantra—ARRIA NLG EVERYWHERE—were directly inspired by the founding principles of the University. By respecting the cultural ethos, the beliefs and history of the founders of the University of Aberdeen and their dedication to language, we sustain the invisible bonds that enable great institutions to remain in existence through generations, during which time everything around them changes in infinite ways.
Building an enduring global commercial enterprise that will honor the scientific legacy that gave rise to our mission is the deepest intention of the Arria team.
OUR CHIEF SCIENTISTS
Arria Chief Scientists, Prof. Ehud Reiter and Dr. Yaji Sripada are considered to be the foremost authorities in the field of NLG. They are both recognized as leading NLG experts and are widely published on the subject of NLG. Their papers are frequently cited.
An NLG algorithm, known as the “incremental algorithm” for referring expression generation that was co-developed in 1992 by Arria NLG Chief Scientist Prof. Ehud Reiter is one of the most widely cited works in the field of NLG.
Prof. Ehud Reiter’s blog is the most widely read NLG blog in the world.
ARRIA NLG RESEARCH CENTRE
On 1 May 2012, Arria NLG, Data2Text Limited and the University of Aberdeen signed an historic Charter that formed the “Arria NLG Centre of the University of Aberdeen” within its school of Computing and natural sciences, with the Centre to act as a centre of expertise with a defined set of capabilities in the field of NLG.
The purpose stated in the Charter for this important strategic relationship was to:
ESTABLISH a relationship among Arria NLG, Data2Text Limited and the University by which the University will form the Arria NLG Centre of the University of Aberdeen;
ENABLE a process by which project work, research, education, training and recruitment can be linked, to empower and facilitate the academic output of the Centre;
ENCOURAGE the generation of new research and academic papers within the field of NLG and related disciplines;
PROVIDE a framework for the swift development, approval and commercialisation of IP;
PROTECT the academic freedoms of the University and its staff; and
MAINTAIN SCIENTIFIC LEADERSHIP
It is through structures such as Arria NLG Research Centre at The University of Aberdeen and programs such as ARRIA SPACE that ARRIA is committed to maintaining its global leadership in NLG Science and Innovation as well as its commercial leadership by unleashing the power of its Arria NLG Platform via ARRIA STUDIO.
THE ICONIC LIBRARY BUILDING
Featured as the masthead of this page is the iconic University Library Building where Arria NLG Limited, The University Court of The University of Aberdeen and Data2Text Limited signed the documents establishing the Arria NLG Research Centre at The University of Aberdeen. The vaults housing the 200,000 artifacts of language in the University’s Special Collections Center are located under the granite floor of the library.