School of Computer Science THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM CN-CR Ghost Machine

CoSy project CogX project

Teaching ideas about grammar, parsing and generation,
Using Pop11's LIB Grammar package and extensions
(DRAFT: Liable to change)

Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham.

Installed: 15 Nov 2013
Last updated: 17 Nov 2013
This web page is

A partial index of discussion notes is in

Abstract for Possible IRLab Presentation
School of Computer Science
Monday 18th Nov 11-12am Room 245

In this seminar I shall
  1. give an introduction to a simple toolkit that can be used to add some natural
    language interaction to a robot,
  2. demonstrate a toy grammar for describing and interacting with a robot,
  3. illustrate how extending a parser with an ill-formed substring table (as opposed to
    the better known well-formed substring table mechanism) made a huge difference to
    performance in parsing.
  4. There's a general principle there that's widely applicable, regarding forms of
    learning, i.e. the importance of learning what doesn't work and being able to
    spot early steps towards failures. (One of the main reasons for doing lots and lots
    of examples when learning mathematics, logic, programming, etc.)
There's an online video demo of an application of the grammar package included in

Look at the two videos in Section 12, demonstrating a very simplified version of
Terry Winograd's ground-breaking SHRDLU program, presented in his MIT PhD thesis over
four decades ago: .

For people who have never done any programming using grammars, either for sentence
input or for sentence output, or for both, it may worth looking at the online
video tutorials concerned with language, grammars, and chatbots here:
NB: these are all 'first draft' toy demonstrations that need to be redone. I
was still learning to use 'RecordMyDesktop', and the tutorials were unscripted.

The general philosophy of teaching programming behind these demonstrations, focusing
on "thinky programming" is outlined here.

The more elaborate, but still 'toy' experimental grammar for interacting with a robot
is presented here:

Maintained by Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham