Natural Language Processing has been a scientific enterprise for 40 years. In the last decade and half, however, the interest in Applied Natural Language Processing has increased steadily. The reason for this development can be seen in the advances in various areas of computational linguistics on the one hand and both the availability of inexpensive and powerful computing machinery and the growing demand for various types of natural language functionalities as part of software systems on the other hand. This increase in practical and industrial interest has also been accompanied by substantial funding. And although the natural language community has been more careful (perhaps due to the experience of the ALPAC report in the sixities) than researchers in other fields of Artificial Intelligence—where the creation of unrealistic expectations led to a substantial scepticism followed by a decrease of support—fairly high expectations with respect of the near and mid-term exploitability of natural language products do exist.
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