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GATE Cloud Exploratory

Try GATE Cloud live!


From February to September 2011, we're running a small exploratory project funded by JISC and the EPSRC to experiment with using GATE in the Cloud. GATE’s adaptation to cloud platforms will be instrumental for carrying out large-scale, easily reproducible research in natural language processing and other related disciplines over the next decade. By insulating researchers from the cloud platform, GATE Cloud will eliminate the overhead of having to re-implement text processing algorithms specifically for the cloud. It will also allow better control over cloud processing costs, e.g., setting a time limit on the algorithms to prevent non-terminating experiments.

Aims of the Project

A recent study of the market for intelligent text processing solutions estimated its size at $350 million, with further significant growth potential. The study also showed that blogs and social media are the most important kind of unstructured information for which automatic solutions are needed; closely followed by news articles, email, and online forums. This project aims to develop a working cloud adaptation of a widely-used research platform for text processing (GATE). In order to achieve maximum impact, software will be made available as open-source under a commercially-friendly license such as LGPL. The portability, costs and effort evaluation reports will include practical guidance for companies and researchers, to promote the easy adoption of the project results, with specific target being the large and active GATE R&D company user base.

To complement these, we will undertake dissemination and commercial engagement activities aimed at key industry sectors. In terms of economic impact, we will target key growth areas for text processing solutions such as intellectual property protection and patent search; voice-of-the-customer applications; online brand, product, and reputation management; digital archives and eGovernment; and companies providing internet privacy and security services.

Major beneficiaries are the Digital Economy sectors identified above. In addition to the project partners, through UK and international research projects, the GATE group at Sheffield University has built successful industrial collaborations with other large companies (BT, The Stationery Office, Elsevier, Nokia, Yahoo, Atos, Dassault Aviation, Elsevier, MPS Bank, Creditreform) and SMEs (Fizzback, Garlik, Innovantage, Ontotext, Matrixware, Mondeca, Ontoprise, ISOCO), many of whom are already using GATE-based text processing solutions and can therefore benefit directly from this project. Further knowledge transfer opportunities arise through the Sheffield University connections to the digital and new media industries in the Sheffield city region, which are growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the UK in terms of specialist companies and new jobs.

A unique opportunity arises also from the £100m South Yorkshire Digital Region project, which will pilot the Next Generation Broadband and thus provide the required infrastructure for businesses to access efficiently cloud-based services. Last, but not least, this project will have impact on advancing knowledge across scientific disciplines and improving the career opportunities of all team members by enabling them to build expertise in cloud computing.


Winner of best paper award at AHM 2011:
Tablan, V., Roberts, I., Cunningham, H. and Bontcheva, K. GATECloud.net: Cloud Infrastructure for Large-Scale, Open-Source Text Processing. In Proceedings of AHM 2011, "Towards the Cloud: Infrastructures, Applications, Research." York, United Kingdom. September 2011. pdf

GATE Cloud Implementation

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Useful Links

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Contact us about GATE Cloud

Project PI: Hamish Cunningham

Other Investigator: Kalina Bontcheva

Researcher Co-Investigator: Valentin Tablan

This work is supported by JISC/EPSRC, reference number EP/I034092/1