Overview of the Fourth Message Understanding Evaluation and Conference
NAVAL COMMAND CONTROL AND OCEAN SURVEILLANCE CENTER RDT AND E DIV SAN DIEGO CA
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The Fourth Message Understanding Conference MUC-4 is the latest in a series of conferences that concern the evaluation of natural language processing NLP systems. These conferences have reported on progress being made both in the development of systems capable of analyzing relatively short English texts and in the definition of a rigorous performance evaluation methodology. MUC-4 was preceded by a period of intensive system development by each of the participating organizations and blind testing using materials prepared by NRaD and SAIC that are described in this paper, other papers in this volume, and the MUC-3 proceedings. The overall objective of the evaluations is to advance our understanding of the merits of current text analysis techniques, as applied to the performance of a realistic information extraction task. As a task, information extraction requires understanding of the texts, but it presents a more limited challenge than would a task requiring production of an in-depth representation of the contents of complete texts. The inputs to the analysis extraction process consist of naturally-occurring newswire texts that were obtained in electronic form. The outputs of the process are a set of templates or semantic frames resembling the contents of a partially formatted database.