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Old 12-15-2009, 01:31 PM   #1
kennyc
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Literary Pattern Matching

interesting commentary on software pattern matching and literature.

http://links.techwebnewsletters.com/...TkS1&mt=1&rt=0

exerpt: Pattern matching is one thing computers do really well. Take a bushel of data, throw it at a computer, and be amazed by the results. That's more or less what Sebastian Bernhardsson, Luis Enrique Correa da Rocha, and Petter Minnhagen, all members of Sweden's Umea University Department of Physics, did anyway. What is particularly interesting about their data was that it was a collection of books by Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, and Herman Melville — authors I haven't thought much about since university.

And what the researchers discovered was that by applying statistical analysis and pattern matching techniques to literature written by these authors, they were able to identify unique literary "fingerprints" of each author......


See link above for full text.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:25 PM   #2
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This is very cool. I think Google Books and Amazon are both well positioned to build a Pandora for ebooks (previous discussion here: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55891) as they have all the texts as well as the software expertise to compute book fingerprints like this. I don't know if they will, given all the distractions they have to deal with. Perhaps a smaller company can get started with the Gutenberg catalog to build a recommendation system based on fingerprints, and then get acquired by Google or Amazon
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
And what the researchers discovered was that by applying statistical analysis and pattern matching techniques to literature written by these authors, they were able to identify unique literary "fingerprints" of each author......
This is really old stuff. I first heard about this type of literary analysis some time in the 1980s. Really. There have been dozens of projects that seek to identify or appraise books by studying the author's "fingerprint" in this way.

Admittedly, the hardware and software are much more powerful now, and so no doubt does a better job of it. But it's hardly new technology.
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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I believe that the concept has been around likely even before computers. It's really about the "feel" of a writer's work I think. I'm also quite sure not only the computer technology but the linguistic analysis techniques have improved tremendously since the first attempt.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
I believe that the concept has been around likely even before computers. It's really about the "feel" of a writer's work I think. I'm also quite sure not only the computer technology but the linguistic analysis techniques have improved tremendously since the first attempt.
I'm sure you're right on both counts. But, in any case, thanks for starting this discussion. It's an interesting area. I just felt it was a pity that Dr Dobbs was touting it as something new.
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Old 12-16-2009, 04:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I'm sure you're right on both counts. But, in any case, thanks for starting this discussion. It's an interesting area. I just felt it was a pity that Dr Dobbs was touting it as something new.
Well, you know how it is with magazines, news, marketing, and fashion everything old is new again.
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