The Managing Director of IBM Espana SA, Luis de Sopena, has announced that the natural language centre the company is installing in Seville will be totally operational by the end of this year. The new advanced research centre, part of IBM’s agreement with the Expo ’92 Organisation, will do development work in various sectors of the industry. At the moment, the European Community alone spends 50% of its administrative budget on translation and interpretation. To begin with the Centre will absorb current language industry projects from Madrid such as Mentor, the Multilingual English Translator, along with about 25 staff from Madrid and other participating institutions. Although no budget has been fixed yet, de Sopena said the Centre would also have an IBM 3090 system and PS/2 workstations and would be connected to the central computer as well as to IBM speech research centres in the US and Europe. In addition to Mentor, IBM has started a speech recognition project in order to work closely with successful counterparts in Yorktown, involving the speaker-independent recognition of 20,000 words, and adapt the technology to Spanish using experience from similar projects in France, West Germany and Italy. Speech recognition systems applications would be very important in various fields such as industrial quality control, telecommunications, help for the disabled and, above all, a huge stein 1990. There are currently three different approaches to the problem. The first involves a straight encryption or codnguistics is not included in Spanish universities’ curriculae. IBM’s research and development efforts in Spain do not stop there, however, and the company is also working with Madrid University and the Spanish Ministry of Industry to promote a project to set up a university-linked but flexible knowledge engineering institute to concentrate on artificial intelligence-related techniques applied principally, although not exclusively, to industrial and economic activity.
Geographic Information Systems
The project includes other Spanish companies – Banco Hispano Americana, Informatica El Corte Ingles – the computer division of a Spanish chain store, the National Hydrocarbon Institute, Renfe Spanish Railways, the Tabacalera state tobacco industry, Union-Fenosa, Iberia and Banco Espanol de Credito, will be involved in wider research projects and will dedicate a large part of its resources to the training of specialised personnel via participation in concrete basic and applied research projects together with specialised teaching. The companies will contribute to the maintenance of the Institute, help to run it via the Knowledge Engineering Development Association in Spain, of which the University and IBM are also members and contribute technical staff and one representative each for the Board of Trustees. The Ministry of Industry will also second one representative. Initial staff will number 30, increasing to 60 by the fourth year, when the Institute should become self-sufficient. The cost of setting up the Institute will be around $20m, a fifth of which will come from the Ministry of Industry and the rest from partners. The project was first dreamed up in the latter half of 1988 by the university which opened a Geographic Information Systems Centre a few months ago in Bilbao to focus on research and development in space processing related applications and techniques. Activities in this new centre, which has a staff of nine, will enable existing information in Spain on urban and public works planning to be updated as well as other more immediate fields of application.
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