July 19, 2004

DARPA dissed again

Dan Gilmore wrote yesterday about some machine translation (MT) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology that's been developed with funding from the DARPA TIDES and EARS programs.

There's been some progress, both in the underlying technology and in its applications, since my two posts on DARPA MT research almost a year ago. But one thing that hasn't changed is this: just like Chris Farah's NYT Circuits story from 7/31/2003, Dan Gilmore's SiliconValley.com eJournal column from 7/18/2004 doesn't mention DARPA.

(D)ARPA is the (Defense) Advanced Research Projects Agency -- it's gained and lost the D from its name and acronym a couple of times over the decades. It got some cred in the past by naming the internet's ancestor the arpanet. To get any kudos in the press for contributions to MT and ASR research, does DARPA need to somehow put its name in a catchy way on the technologies it funds?

Also missing from both last year's NYT and this year's SiliconValley.com: examples of the current quality of ASR, Arabic/English MT, and their combination; and a sense of the trajectory of these technologies in speed, capability and quality. I'm not faulting Gilmore -- his column is more of a "looky here" kind of thing, with limited space and perhaps an audience with little patience for technical details. But there's a story here for someone.


Posted by Mark Liberman at July 19, 2004 12:36 PM