Sony CSL

Language Analysis Project

Language defines who we are. From a person's language, we can instantly determine age, origin, education level, and more. Language is also fluid and ever changing. New words are invented daily in an effort to better describe the world around us.

Sony C.S.L, an Independent Research Laboratory in Paris, France, researches the meaning of language, its origin and its evolution. To be able to complete their research, Sony CSL chose to use the highly scalable Allegro CL and Allegro CLIM tools to virtually represent this natural evolution process.

The framework of Sony CSL's application consists of a population of distributed autonomous agents, equipped with a model of a human vocal apparatus. The agents take turns playing a consecutive series of games, which feature some aspect of language, and then make sound adaptations, based on the outcome. The agents recognize when a new sound is made and attempt to reproduce it.

CSL's data display

While Java was a tempting option for project lead Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, he and his team ultimately decided to use Allegro CL for its more powerful symbols, and ease of learning and manipulation. Furthermore, Sony CSL took advantage of Allegro CL's rapid prototyping and good symbolic and list processing capabilities.

Oudeyer says that Allegro CL and Allegro CLIM were the perfect tools to enable them to graphically test and evaluate the research results.

Sony CSL created the first robotic agents developed with a natural language system. Allegro CL helped to

  • Realistically represent language interaction. The autonomous agents responded quickly to a problem queried by another agent.
  • Allow Sony CSL developers to modify the simulations while they were running, allowing for faster development and debugging. "Interactive evaluation allows us to develop and debug faster than Java does." says Oudeyer.

Allegro CLIM:

  • Provided a powerful Interface Manager to control and modify the simulations - agents could be added or removed as needed.
  • Graphically represented the sounds generated via simulation, giving understanding of the underlying dynamics.
  • Enabled an easy interface to a C Library of acoustic signal processing. "There was no equivalent in Java" adds Oudeyer. "Our simulations required the storage of very complex structures that needed to be constantly accessed and modified, and Lisp made the job easier," said Oudeyer.

Allegro CL allowed Sony CSL to create powerful codes and easily evolve their application. This research project represents the first time that the lab has used Allegro CL on Linux in their development efforts. Sony CSL's goal was to prove (and may revise some theories on the origins and evolution of Language.) Language, more precisely "Speech", could have evolved in a cultural and structured fashion rather than genetic. Research does not agree. This application will help in resolving this matter.

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