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Wolfram Natural Language Understanding System

Making high-precision natural language understanding ubiquitous

The release of Wolfram|Alpha brought a breakthrough in broad high-precision natural language understanding. Now fully integrated into the Wolfram technology stack, the Wolfram Natural Language Understanding (NLU) System is a key enabler in a wide range of Wolfram products and services.

Anyone can immediately use Wolfram|Alpha or intelligent assistants based on it without learning anything. NLU is what makes that possible by providing a zero-length path into a complex computational system.

NLU is also crucial in making real-world connections. Nobody wants to read a manual to know how to refer to something; one just wants to use natural language. But NLU can convert that into a precise symbolic form that's suitable for computation mixing the best of precise computer language and natural language.

Sample Deployments

Wolfram|Alpha Website

The world's portal to computational knowledge

Wolfram|Alpha API

The API powering intelligent assistants and more

Wolfram|Alpha Query Recognizer

Probabilistic query triage in ten milliseconds or less

Wolfram Language Free-Form Input

Programming with natural language

Wolfram Language Semantic Import

Putting structure into unstructured data

Wolfram Document Tagger

Tagging what's meaningful in documents

Programmable Linguistic Interface (PLI)

Deploy your own natural language grammar

Wolfram Semantic Server

Canonical WDF from natural language

Wolfram Smart Fields

Letting forms use natural language

The Technology

Wolfram NLU works by using breakthrough knowledge-based techniques to transform free-form language into a precise symbolic representation suitable for computation.

The Wolfram|Alpha Experience

Wolfram NLU has interpreted many billions of queries in Wolfram|Alpha and in well-developed domains, the success rate for understanding web queries is now in excess of 95%.

Knowledge is the Secret Weapon

Part of what lets Wolfram NLU succeed is its access to unprecedented broad and deep computational knowledge in the Wolfram Cloud.

Complex Linguistics, Not Statistics

Wolfram NLU is set up to handle complex lexical and grammatical structures, and translate them to precise symbolic forms, without resorting to imprecise meaning-independent statistical methods.

Learning from Users

The high performance of today's Wolfram NLU has been achieved partly through analysis of billions of user queries in Wolfram|Alpha.

Knowledge-Based Disambiguation

Wolfram NLU routinely combines outside information like a user's geolocation, or conversational context with its built-in Knowledgebase to achieve extremely high success rates in disambiguating queries.

Curating Natural Language

Wolfram NLU has a huge built-in lexical and grammatical Knowledgebase, derived from extensive human curation and corpus analysis, and sometimes informed by statistical studies of the content of the web.

Understanding Raw Human Thoughts

Wolfram NLU is set up not only to take input from written and spoken sources, but also to handle the more "stream-of-consciousness" forms that people type into input fields.

Powered by the Cloud

Wolfram NLU and its large Knowledgebase is all part of the Wolfram Cloud, so it's easy for any system or program to access.

Zero-Learning Usage

Successful natural language understanding lets even the most complex functionality be used with zero learning and without documentation.

There's No Manual For Wolfram|Alpha

Wolfram NLU has let many millions of people instantly use Wolfram|Alpha without ever explicitly having been told how.

Talk to the Intelligent Assistant

Once speech has been turned into text, Wolfram NLU is broad enough to take whatever has been said and determine what to do.

Don't Worry About the Format

With Wolfram Smart Fields powered by Wolfram NLU in the Wolfram Cloud, fields in forms, mobile apps, etc. can be interpreted semantically, so users never have to worry about the details of allowed formats.

Wolfram Language + Natural Language

Being able to use natural language within the Wolfram Language creates a system of great power, in which real-world constructs mix seamlessly with abstract computation.

Programming with Natural Language

Wolfram NLU lets you specify simple programs purely in natural language then translates them into precise Wolfram Language code.

What's That Thing Called?

Wolfram NLU in the standard Wolfram Language interface lets you type natural language fragments to specify real-world constructs, and have these automatically converted to precise symbolic form.

When There's An Easy Way to Say It...

In some cases (like specifying units of measure), natural language can be much more succinct than precise symbolic language and Wolfram WLU lets you just use the natural language form.

Structuring Unstructured Data

Wolfram NLU can take large volumes of unstructured data and turn it into meaningful canonical WDF.

Injecting Semantics Into Data

Whether there are dates or places or names of species, Wolfram NLU can understand them, and turn them into precise WDF with a unique standardized meaning.

Decoding Structure As Well As Content

Wolfram NLU technology can automatically decode not just individual data elements but also how tabular or other data is arranged and delimited.

Linguistics in Bulk

When there's lots of data in tabular form, Wolfram NLU looks at whole columns etc. together, and uses machine learning techniques to adapt and optimize the interpretations it gives.

Semantics as a Service

The Wolfram Semantic Server runs in the cloud, providing interactive, API and embeddable access to semantic conversion services.

Talk to Everything

Through its Programmable Linguistic Interface (PLI), Wolfram NLU is extensible, so you can define your own grammar to ask questions or specify actions then deploy the result to be used from the cloud.

Grammars of Actions

With the Wolfram PLI, you can give grammars that define what natural language forms should generate what underlying Wolfram Language functions, and perform what actions.

Just Add Your Own Domain

The Wolfram PLI lets you start from the complete Wolfram NLU system, then add specific lexical and grammar elements to cover the particular domain you want.

Add Natural Language to Anything

The Wolfram PLI is deployed in the Wolfram Cloud, and is accessible directly in programs, or through an API.

Making Complex Interfaces Work

With natural language and the Wolfram PLI, it's possible for users to interact with vastly more complex interfaces than before, routinely taking advantage of system capabilities that were previous inaccessible.