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The University of Brighton has set up a Web site dedicated to computer systems which can speak and understand ordinary human language.

And let's be honest - that's no mean feat. According to experts human language is "monumentally subtle and complex" with each us able to produce and understand a potential hundred million trillion sentences.

Trying to match this staggering linguistic ability is a major challenge for computing.

However, those behind UK Euromap hope the site will become a mouthpiece for the development and marketing of Human Language Technologies (HLT) - programs that can understand, create or process human speech and writing.

HLT systems are being developed that can recognise ordinary speech over the phone. They're also used for the online translation of text from one language to another.

The site is hosted by the university's Information Technology Research Institute.

However, we're slightly disappointed that we couldn't find a Webcam pointing to a coffee pot - or something similar - which would have been nice. ®

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