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IBM Sends UIMA To Apache, OASIS

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Two major open source contributions from IBM for its Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) have placed it with the Apache Software Foundation as an incubator project, and out to the OASIS specification development group to create a true standard around the UIMA framework.

It had been about a year since IBM’s Marc Andrews, director for strategy & business development for content discovery, chatted with WebProNews about UIMA. I talked with him while he was enjoying the always-cheerful environs of a busy airport somewhere about the latest news about UIMA.

The technology behind UIMA offers the promise of going beyond the typical search capabilities seen in search engines like Google and Ask today. UIMA understands unstructured information, stored in a multitude of formats, by its concept rather than just as keywords to match.

In January 2006, IBM placed UIMA on SourceForge, giving open source developers access to its framework.

The tech world and beyond have taken notice; two major projects, at the Mayo Clinic and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, have been implementing UIMA-based solutions to aid in finding and facilitating deeper and more encompassing medical research.

Andrews said IBM has seen adoption of UIMA throughout the academic, government, and business worlds over the past year since we’ve spoken.

IBM’s open source efforts continued with their recent steps into that community. Apache has launched a project, Apache UIMA, which should drive more community involvement with UIMA.

Ideally, Andrews would like to see what the free/open source software community can do with creating components that take advantage of UIMA to fulfill a given need. “Value comes from components that others can draw from,” he said.

The OASIS efforts at developing a standard for UIMA are at a very early stage. Andrews said the official call for participation will come from the OASIS UIMA Technical Committee, comprised of heavy hitters like Carnegie Mellon University and the Army Information and Intelligence Warfare Directorate.

Those who would like to experiment with UIMA at Apache’s project site will find IBM has contributed UIMA’s version 2.0 source code to the incubator. Carnegie Mellon created a UIMA Component Repository, and analytics tools from sources like the UK’s General Architecture for Text Engineering (GATE) and OpenNLP may be obtained freely.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

IBM Sends UIMA To Apache, OASIS
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