After a brief hiatus I’m pleased to say the London Text Analytics meetup resumed last night with an excellent set of talks from the participants in the AnnoMarket project. For those of you unfamiliar, this project is concerned with creating a cloud-based, open market for text analytics applications: a kind of NLP ‘app store’, if you will. The caveat is that each app must be implemented as a GATE pipeline and conform to their packaging constraints, but as we’ve discussed before, GATE is a pretty flexible platform that integrates well with 3rd party applications and services.
There’s no doubt that AnnoMarket is a great piece of engineering, with detailed talks by Valentin Tablan, Marin Dimitrov and Ian Roberts as testament to that. But the real interest is in the emergent dynamics of the ecosystem that the platform creates. On one side we have the language resource providers, who want to see their assets used as widely as possible. On another we have the pipeline developers, who see the platform as a new channel for the deployment of NLP components and applications. And of course there are end users, who want to source specific text analytics applications and take advantage of the economies of scale that the cloud infrastructure provides. And finally we have the GATE team, who act as facilitators and intermediaries, bringing all these elements together.
It’s early days for AnnoMarket concept, and the participants themselves concede some degree of uncertainty over how things will pan out. There are many opposing forces, and a critical mass of participants is needed for these to find a stable equilibrium. That’s why the speakers offered us all vouchers which we can redeem to try the platform for ourselves, and invoke services of our choosing according to a simple pricing policy (based on data volumes and API calls). If you’re interested in trying out AnnoMarket for yourself, just visit https://annomarket.com.
We should also acknowledge the contribution of AnnoMarket partners (in particular the Press Association) to the event itself, as their financial support meant that we were able to select a more suitable venue and offer generous hospitality to all participants. In that respect, the Plough worked quite well, although for future events we might rearrange the layout so as to encourage more mixing, and provide an opportunity for newcomers (of which there were many) to introduce themselves to the group.
We’re hoping to have another Meetup next month, possibly on the subject of sentiment analysis, but if there is a topic that you’d particularly like us to cover just let me know. Alternatively, if you’d like to put yourself forward yourself as speaker, then even better 🙂 And of course, if you have suggestions for future venues or sponsorship opportunities we’d love to hear about them.
See you at the next meetup!