Friday, March 21, 2008

Disappointing Business Natural Languages Talk

Jay Fields presented "Business Natural Languages" in QCon London 2008. I have tried to do natural language processing using Rules Engine and failed badly. I am not sure whether the Rules Engine implementation I selected was not a good one or just Rules Engine in general are not a good choice for natural language processing. Anyway coming back to the presentation. I was so excited about this presentation and attended it. I have to say I was little disappointed. First of all , I think I have seen this presentation like a year ago ( I might be wrong ) . I am surprised that nothing has changed for a year in this field. Jay used frequent flier example for showing how we can do BNL. I am not convinced with that example. Remember Petstore made Entity Beans look like solution that we were praying and waiting for. The frequent flier example was so simple. I am not against anything being simple but businesses are not simple. In his example , the rules he had were somewhat like,

  • If flying in Class B,C than allocate 2 Points
  • If flying in Class D than allocate 1 Point
The example simplified the business problem so much that it is not useful. I would like to see rules that are contradicting each other. So much research has been done in Rules Engine to handle Contention , Contradictions etc. I do not think we can ignore these things, as Businesses are not that simple.

It was nice presentation to show what is possible with BNL, but that is where it stops. I would like to see some more realistic rules.


Amit said...

Also, I'm not convinced that parsing text and converting it to an 'executable' version of ruby code is a particularly great technique to implement a DSL.

For anything serious at all, you just need a real parser and an actual AST.

My 2-cents.

dilz said...

TW on TW violence!

Siva Jagadeesan said...

Hi dilz

I just want to mention I was disappointed with the presentation. It was good for the most part, but just that I felt the example was kind of simple that it was not very realistic. I was not able to see whether we can do BNL in real world with that example.
It does not mean I am critical about Jay. I have interacted with him and he is a nice guy.
I am criticizing the presentation not the person who gave the presentation. That is a big difference my friend. :)

Anyway "TW on TW violence" could be a nice title for our xtreme frisbee match within Thoughtworkers