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September 6, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Logica Plc has been named as the prime contractor and co ordinator of a Transputer-based European computer speech project. Dubbed Sundial, for Speech Understanding and Dialogue, the five or 170 man – year project stands to receive around UKP22m of funding under the second phase of the European Community’s Esprit programme, which approved the effort for support at the end of July. According to Logica, the systems that the Sundial research team aims to develop will support a 2,000-word vocabulary, and will be designed to enable users to enter information, gain answers to their queries, and hold conversations with the system over the telephone. Logica Cambridge Ltd’s speech and language manager Jeremy Peckham, describes Sundial as the development of a number of major components or support chips, built around a modest number of Inmos T800 Series Transputer 16- and 32-bit chips. Top of the agenda will be a speech pattern and linguistic processing component, comprising structural, semantic anddialogue management data, together with a second component, designed to emulate additional elements of human conversational interaction confirmations, dialogue repair or clarifications, and supplementary questions. Final envisaged component is a message generator for synthesising speech. Input for the project will come from a total of 12 different European companies and consortia. French contributions come courtesy of the PTT research laboratory, CNET; Cap Gemini Sogeti’s Innovation, and the academic institute IRISA, while German heavy-weights AEG AG and Siemens, will be joined by the University of Erlangen. Italian partners comprise the PTT research laboratory CSELT, and, with particular database responsibilities, Saran SpA, based in Pomezia, near Rome. From Sweden comes a small consortium led by speech tech-nicians Infovex, with the University of Surrey joining Logica in the UK contingent.

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