Matthias Büchse, 2015. Algebraic decoder specification: coupling formal-language theory and statistical machine translation. PhD Thesis. Technische Universität Dresden, Fakultät Informatik.

Submitted: 2014-08-05, defended: 2014-12-18, published online: 2015-01-28.


The specification of a decoder, i.e., a program that translates sentences from one natural language into another, is an intricate process, driven by the application and lacking a canonical methodology. The practical nature of decoder development inhibits the transfer of knowledge between theory and application, which is unfortunate because many contemporary decoders are in fact related to formal-language theory. This thesis proposes an algebraic framework where a decoder is specified by an expression built from a fixed set of operations. As yet, this framework accommodates contemporary syntax-based decoders, it spans two levels of abstraction, and, primarily, it encourages mutual stimulation between the theory of weighted tree automata and the application.

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