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Welcome to EllaZ . . . the home of Artful Intelligence

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This is where the ultimate natural language robot is taking shape.  Take a few minutes to explore and learn about Ella's achievements and future as a robot.  You may talk to the version that won the 2002 Loebner Prize Contest for "Most Human Computer."  But also be sure to visit the full version that makes more extensive use of text and images.  Web Sevices and audio elements give your experience still more depth.

Ella enjoys dealing Atlantic City style Blackjack, spinning her Slot Machine, telling I Ching fortunes, and performing various useful functions.  A lexical database is used to assist her knowledge and usefulness.  A Convun database contains thousands of jokes, trivia, anecdotes, poems, etc.  These help Ella to keep conversations interesting and informative.  The EllaZ System also asks for your opinion of jokes, images, trivia, and so on to increase her knowledge and effectiveness.


March 23, 2013:  Register now and mark your calendar.  Kevin Copple will be presenting a 20-minute talk on "The Role of Chabots and their Authors in the coming Singularity."  Join the ultimate conference on natural language programming, Chatbots 3.3, to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.  Visit the conference website to learn more and register at www.eventbrite.com/event/3126769251.

August 21, 2012:  Sorry, but not much action on the natural language programming front lately.  In the remote possibility that your are interested, please visit a new website we are developing for walking beam pumping units for artificial lift in oilfields. Also consider a new website we are developing for French actor Boris Orgogozo in Tianjin, China.

June 18, 2007:  We've changed the name of our learning program to AIVault (it occurred to us that the abbreviation "AIL" was not ideal).  The downloads are now available at a new website available by clicking here.

NOTE:  The minimum PC configuration in testing so far has been: WinXP SP2, 1.0 GHz Pentium III, 256 MB of RAM.  This BETA version will run until the end of November, 2007.

March 29, 2007:  An AI.Learn update is available with the usual bug fixes.  In chat mode, WordNet now supplies definitions and other responses that can conveniently be saved as Memos to learn.  A couple different progress charts have been added via Zedgraph.  Download this latest BETA version by clicking here.

February 25, 2007:  Finally, something new here: AI.Learn is spaced repetition review/learning program.  It is an adaptation of Ella to a popular type of flash-card learning program.  The idea is that information must be reviewed to remember it.  A computer program can adjust to your learning progress, optimizing the review process with the goal of having you review information often enough to remember, but not more often than necessary.

The units for learning are question and answer pairs called Memos.  Memos may include formatted text, images, and audio recordings.  Ella shows a question, and you consider whether you know the answer.  Then Ella asks if you remember it as well as you want.  Your Pass/Fail answer is used by AI.Learn to adjust to your overall memory performance.  AI.Learn also uses your response to adjust review timing to groups of items (Folders) and individual Memos.

Users can easily manage their learning process, with the ability to edit and move Memos, add new Memos and Folders, delete Memos and Folders, add Memo notes, reset learning logs, and more.

AI.Learn is presented by Ella, with her chatbot nature providing clear direction each step of the way.  The "Chat" menu item launches Ella into chatterbot mode.  Currently there is only basic text interaction, but Ella's multimedia, WordNet, and WebService capabilities should be incoporated eventually.

Most uniquely, Dr. Richard Wallace's Alice has been merged with Ella, combining the functional abilities of Ella with Alice's extensive AIML stimulous-response chat ability.  Hint: the background color of the chat input box changes based on whether it is Ella or Alice generating a response.

Later we will have an extensive description of AI.Learn, but until then please give the Beta version a try, downloading by clicking here.  The included Help files contain further information.

May 15, 2005: The Functions page (scroll down a bit there) now shows Ella can handle many date related queries, such as:
  • "When is 1000 days after the day after tomorrow?"
  • "How many days are there from 6/27/69 to 8/4/55?"
  • "What date is a billion seconds from now?"
  • "How long is it from Tue of last week to Wednesday of next week?"
  • "How many days are in February?"
  • "What is Friday of next week plus 3 fortnights?"
May 3, 2005:  The Astrobot Ella page now displays how mind-boggling far she has traveled since her "launch" in 2003, updated with each page load/refresh.  You may also find interesting details on her trip that you have not seen before.

April 21, 2005:  Ella managed a Silver Medal in the "Most Capable" category of the 2005 Chatterbox Challenge.  Following up on his earlier medal design, Kevin Copple of EllaZ Systems designed new graphics for the website header and link banners this year:

The Chatterbox Challenge

March 24, 2005:  Old news actually, but there is a new page AudioElla up that describes some work we did last summer on an implementation of Ella using only audio interaction.  This different environment called for a few new items.  First, synthesized voices and speech recognition were added.  Next, a menu type system was used for accessing Ella's various features.  Also, we gave Ella the ability to "say that again."  Please give AudioElla a visit and listen to the sample audio recordings.

GetWord.GetBaseForm() is a helper function built using WordNet, and can be accessed directly:
User: What is the base form of "taught smiling salaries?"

Ella: The base form of "taught smiling salaries" is "teach smile salary" as far as I can tell.
Some words have more than one base form, such as "teaching."  As a noun, it already is base form, but as a verb "teach" would be the base form.  This may be a case where grammar processing could make the program more efficient by identifying the part of speech.

March 10, 2005:  Ella is now spotting, translating, and responding in Pig Latin, occasionally when not expected.  Ella can handle mixed input, e.g. "ixnay on the igpay atinlay."  Variations -yay and -ay for initial vowel words are covered.  Those pesky qu- gue- gui- yo- ye- words are dealt with.  Some words such as "ethay" and "isway" were hard wired to "the" and "is."

The translation of user input to normal English can be seen on-screen.  You can carry on a complete conversation with Ella in Pig Latin -- games and other features included.

February 24, 2005:  In the 2004 Chatterbox Challenge, Ella won 3rd Place overall and 3rd Place in the Functional category.  With recent improvements (and crossed fingers), we're hoping to do as well or better this year.  Visit the contest site and see over 100 chatterbot entrants.

February 21, 2005:  We added a more detailed test information box that appears when the mouse pointer is placed over the Inside Info graphic.  You can see the history buffer for Convuns, server response time, and a number of other interesting items.

Similarly, there is a new Talking Tip graphic that provides a random tip about Ella's possibilities as a conversationalist.  The nifty JavaScript allows you to cut and paste the example, so give a few a try.  A complete list of the tips can be seen at Tips for Talking.

February 19, 2005:  A new feature of Ella looks at the past four user inputs and attempts to match that to image data in order to find an image appropriate to the conversation.  Sooner or later we will get an angry message from the ASP.Net host provider saying we are too processor intensive.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the 800+ images we have collected will save a lot of typing :-)

February 16, 2005:  The new Music Convuns are up on the full version of Ella.  Featured now are music of Robby Garner and David Hamill. Some possible requests:
  • "Sing a song for me." - a classic chatbot request
  • "Play a clip from Robby Garner." - soon to be classic :-)
  • "I want to hear that Blimp Pilot piece."
  • "Do you have any tracks by David Hamill?."
  • "Please play some Garner music about space."
  • "Play the music called Autumnal Suite by Hamill."
  • "Play that Blimp Pilot piece again."
Currently these require a combination of verb type words or phrases (play, sing, do you have, I want to hear, etc.) and noun type words (music, tune, track, clip, etc.).  So "play some Robby" won't do it at this point.

Some of the tracks have lyrics (e.g. Plastic Hand) or descriptions (e.g. Autumnal Suite) that are shown as the music plays. Otherwise, a specified image is shown (from the Image Convun set).  Also, when Ella asks if you want to hear the piece she found, a pre-selected image is shown.

We improved the performance of Convun matching by changing from an attempt to parse "from, called, by, named, etc." to a more search-engine type approach, where matches in the author, title, text, etc. fields are scored and the best match is selected.  Common "grammar words" such as pronouns, conjunctions, selected prepositions, and request words are stripped out first to improve the matching.

For subsequent similar requests, previous matches are held in a buffer, and matches to them are rejected.  To overcome this feature, the user can type "again" or "repeat" as part of the input to see a prior request.

For some reason, when the Flash player gives up on slow downloads in Mozilla's FireFox, sometimes you cannot continue to the next screen - IE is better in this and a few other ways for interacting with Ella.

February 4, 2005:  In addition to dealing blackjack, Ella will now accompany you as you play a slot machine. This is based on a 1930's fruit symbol type of slot machine. An on-line slot machine is no major feat, but many of the chatbot features are unique (decide for yourself which are original):
  • Audio clips to simulate spin and payout.
  • Audio clips for Ella to call out the reel symbols as they stop (including intonations: flat, bored, questioning, excited, and upset).
  • Ella's changing expressions, according to context, from a set of 24 emotions, represented by 88 images (well, they don't ALL get used here).
  • Making comments on the play as it progresses.
  • Answering "What is my bank balance?" and "How many times have I played?"
  • Responding to "This is fun," "What are the rules?", "How much is the Jackpot?" type comments.
  • Appropriately responding to "help", "quit", accusations of cheating, and the inevitable profane utterances.
The new resources for the slot machine included 36 pesky MP3 files and 18 animated GIF's to juggle!

January 29, 2005:  To add a sound dimension to Ella, we now have some of the Convuns using a Flash audio player.  Voice talent Robby Garner provided 37 limericks, jokes, and poems for this feature. Example inputs:
  • "Do you know any good lawyer jokes?"
  • "Tell me some poetry about pain."
  • "Can you show me a limerick?"
January 13, 2005:  Ella will retrieve current information via XML Web Services using InnerGears and WebserviceX for the following functionalities:
  • Ask for world weather info by city, state, country, or ICAO code at up to 6,362 locations.  (What is the weather like in Paris, Texas?)
  • Currency conversions for 162 countries.  (How much Canadian money can I get for 732,000 Yen and 3,400 Rand?)
  • Stock market prices by company name or symbol for the NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ exchanges, including 6,757 company listings.  (What is the value of 570 shares of Microsoft and 420 shares of Xerox?)
  • Precious metal prices for Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Palladium
    (How much Platinum or Gold can I buy with $1,000 US?)
December 30, 2003:  EllaZ Systems is proud to announce the release of the new program AI Bush 1.0  It is available for purchase by download and on CD-ROM at www.AIBush.com.  Please visit the site, and be the first on your block to have a copy!

May 21, 2003:  The content of the CIA World Factbook has been added to Ella's resources.  Now when you ask where or about any country or capital, an HTML page with a map and flag, together with economic, political, and geographic info is displayed.  HTML blocks triggered by conversation and presented on the page are yet another way EllaZ Systems can interact with users.  As always, we plan to link the information ever more closely to conversational threads.

May 11, 2003:  Recent additions bring the total number of image Convuns to 817.  Also, Ella can now respond to requests for images by creator and/or subject. For example, she responds properly to, "Do you have any pics from NASA?", "Do you have any pics by Copple?", "Pls display an image with a yellow theme." or "Show me an image of the earth from NASA." We are working on linking the images more closely to conversational threads, using the descriptive captions each image has in the database, so check back soon!

May 1, 2003:  At the end of this month EllaZ will become the first AI program beamed into outer space to contact extraterrestrial life.  Cosmic Call 2003 is one of the Team Encounter programs for space exploration.

"Astrobot Ella" transmissions will include various clues to interpreting English, VB.Net, and .jpeg images. The high frequency radio transmissions will be focused on star systems selected for likely planetary formations, and are about 75 to 100 light-years away.

The organized content of Astrobot Ella can provide a type of Rosetta Stone?to understanding the other texts transmitted, as well as giving a glimpse of human thought in general.

October 28, 2002:  The improved conversational abilities of the Loebner Prize Contest version of Ella have been added to the full EllaZ version.

October 12, 2002:  The Loebner Prize Contest award for "Most Human Computer" goes to Ella at the Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Thank you for stopping by!  Please give us any comments or suggestions.

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