"In a basement at Carnegie Mellon University, a computer is reading the web. It's been doing so for nearly nine months, teaching itself the complexities and nuances of the English language. And the smarter it gets, the faster it learns.
That computer is NELL, the Never-Ending Language Learning system, and it's the star of a project involving researchers from Carnegie Mellon, supercomputers from Yahoo!, and grants from Google and DARPA. The project's aim is an elusive but important one: to design a machine that can figure out the subtleties of language all on its own. As Tom Mitchell, chairman of the school's machine learning department explains, "we still don't have a computer that can learn as humans do, cumulatively, over the long term." NELL would be the first that does so."