Penelope at the ODYCCEUS case study workshop in Amsterdam

From May 15-17 2019, the ODYCCEUS consortium assembled in Amsterdam for a three-day conference. Over the course of a series of presentations and work sessions, progress on the ODYCCEUS project, including the Penelope infrastructure, was shared and discussed. On May 15, the delegates presented their ongoing work on the case studies to the group. In preparation for an upcoming volume on the project, these presentations were followed by a series of discussion sessions in which the epistemological and methodological implications of this work were explored in more depth. This for instance included reflections on the tensions between hermeneutic and causal approaches to knowledge production with digital methods.

A series of four work sessions on May 16 en 17 provided further opportunities to collaborate on the Penelope infrastructure, including its components and the observatories tied to the case studies. By engaging with the ODYCCEUS consortium in the informal setting of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Study, the various teams thus gained some valuable input on the future design of the Penelope platform. As such, the meeting sparked concrete plans for future collaborations among consortium members.

Tom Willaert presenting progress on the Penelope infrastructure

Semantic Frame Extractor online

A new Penelope Component, called Semantic Frame Extractor is now online!

Frame semantics is commonly used as a methodology for representing the meaning of linguistic utterances. While semantic frames have successfully been formalised on a large scale, it is still a major challenge to automatically extract them from raw text. This Penelope component overcomes this challenge by using precision language processing techniques. Concretely, the component takes a sentence (or a list of texts) and a frame of interest (e.g. ‘Causation’) as input and returns all instances of this frame, and its frame elements, that occur in the sentence (or list of texts). The language processing part of the semantic frame extractor has been developed within the Fluid Construction Grammar (FCG) framework. 

The OpenAPI specification of the component is available at https://app.swaggerhub.com/apis/EHAI/Semantic-Frame-Extractor-API/1.0.0. As all components, it can be used form any programming languages are via Penelope interfaces such as the Penelope Workbench.

Inspiration day of the Flemish Radio and Television (VRT)

The main ideas of the ODYCCEUS project were introduced to a delegation of the Flemish Radio and Television (VRT) at the inspiration day organised at the VUB AI Lab. Paul Van Eecke and Katrien Beuls demonstrated the semantic frame extractor, which detects semantic frames in news paper articles and tries to fill in their slots. An example of such a semantic frame is the Causation frame, with the verb “cause” that evokes the frame and phrases such as “climate change” and “rising sea levels” as the cause and effect slots.  You can read more about a first version of the semantic frame extractor in the online web demo.

A further follow-up meeting is planned with the VRT News editorial team to discuss a potential collaboration.

Workbench piloted at JRC in Ispra

The Penelope workbench was presented and piloted today at the EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra during the third Resonances Summer School, this year devoted to the theme of “Big Data”. The pilot took place in a session on “New tools for social media and fake news”, in which Luc Steels gave a talk and Michael Anslow (Sony CSL Paris) demonstrated the workbench. The Resonances Summer School is an initiative of the Sci-Art project, which is joining art and science to support EU policy making.

Guest lecture at VUB-SMIT

Katrien Beuls gave an invited talk at the VUB centre for Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology (SMIT) where she introduced the ODYCCEUS project. She talked about the goals of the project to create conceptual and social maps from online media and use these maps to make social discourse and social dynamics visible. The semantic frame extractor was also demonstrated, as it was used as an augmented reading tool for a newspaper article about climate change.

First pilot study of the Penelope workbench

The Penelope workbench, which is the first Penelope interface that was released to the public and allows social scientists to build pipelines with available Penelope components, has been piloted at the first ODYCCEUS conference in Leipzig this week. The results of the pilot study show that the participants rated the workbench as useful (8/10) and state that it met their expectations (7.5/10). The workbench can be tested on https://penelope.vub.be/workbench.