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Important Announcement

Dear spaCy users, Unfortunately, we (Henning Peters and Matthew Honnibal) are parting ways. Breaking up is never easy, and it's taken us a while to get our stuff together. Hopefully, you didn't notice anything was up — if you did, we hope you haven't been inconvenienced.

SyntaxNet in context: Understanding Google's new TensorFlow NLP model

Yesterday, Google open sourced their Tensorflow-based dependency parsing library, SyntaxNet. The library gives access to a line of neural network parsing models published by Google researchers over the last two years. I've been following this work closely since it was published, and have been looking forward to the software being published. This post tries to provide some context around the release — what's new here, and how important is it?

spaCy now speaks German

Many people have asked us to make spaCy available for their language. Being based in Berlin, German was an obvious choice for our first second language. Now spaCy can do all the cool things you use for processing English on German text too. But more importantly, teaching spaCy to speak German required us to drop some comfortable but English-specific assumptions about how language works and made spaCy fit to learn more languages in the future.

Multi-threading spaCy's parser and named entity recogniser

In v0.100.3, we quietly rolled out support for GIL-free multi-threading for spaCy's syntactic dependency parsing and named entity recognition models. Because these models take up a lot of memory, we've wanted to release the global interpretter lock (GIL) around them for a long time. When we finally did, it seemed a little too good to be true, so we delayed celebration — and then quickly moved on to other things. It's now past time for a write-up.

Statistical NLP in the Ten Hundred Most Common English Words

When I was little, my favorite TV shows all had talking computers. Now I’m big and there are still no talking computers, so I’m trying to make some myself. Well, we can make computers say things. But when we say things back, they don’t really understand. Why not?

Rebuilding a Website with Modular Markup Components

In a small team, everyone should be able to contribute content to the website and make use of the full set of visual components, without having to worry about design or write complex HTML. To help us write docs, tutorials and blog posts about spaCy, we've developed a powerful set of modularized markup components, implemented using Jade.

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Sense2vec with spaCy and Gensim

If you were doing text analytics in 2015, you were probably using word2vec. Sense2vec (Trask et. al, 2015) is a new twist on word2vec that lets you learn more interesting, detailed and context-sensitive word vectors. This post motivates the idea, explains our implementation, and comes with an interactive demo that we've found surprisingly addictive.

AGPL Not Free Enough: spaCy now MIT

Three big announcements: we're changing license, to MIT from AGPL; a new co-founder is coming on board, Henning Peters; and we're launching a new service, to adapt spaCy's statistical models to your task.

Dead Code Should Be Buried

Natural Language Processing moves fast, so maintaining a good library means constantly throwing things away. Most libraries are failing badly at this, as academics hate to editorialize. This post explains the problem, why it's so damaging, and why I wrote spaCy to do things differently.

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Displaying Linguistic Structure with CSS

One of the features of the relaunch I'm most excited about is the displaCy visualizer and annotation tool. This solves two problems I've thought about a lot: first, how can I help people understand what information spaCy gives them access to? Without a good visualization, the ideas are very abstract. Second, how can we make dependency trees easy for humans to create?

Introducing spaCy

Computers don't understand text. This is unfortunate, because that's what the web almost entirely consists of. We want to recommend people text based on other text they liked. We want to shorten text to display it on a mobile screen. We want to aggregate it, link it, filter it, categorise it, generate it and correct it. spaCy provides a library of utility functions that help programmers build such products.

How spaCy Works

This post is a work in progress, explaining some of how spaCy is designed and implemented, and noting which algorithms were used. spaCy is built on science, not alchemy, and when new discoveries are made, we publish them. We want to stay on the same page as the academic community, to use their work. Still, explaining everything takes time — so this post isn't yet as complete as we'd like it to be. Stay tuned.

Writing C in Cython

For the last two years, I’ve done almost all of my work in Cython. And I don’t mean, I write Python, and then “Cythonize” it, with various type-declarations et cetera. I just, write Cython. I use "raw" C structs and arrays, and occasionally C++ vectors, with a thin wrapper around malloc/free that I wrote myself. The code is almost always exactly as fast as C/C++, because that's really all it is, but with Python right there, if I want it.

Parsing English in 500 Lines of Python

This post explains how transition-based dependency parsers work, and argues that this algorithm represents a break-through in natural language understanding. A concise sample implementation is provided, in 500 lines of Python, with no external dependencies. This post was written in 2013. In 2015 this type of parser is now increasingly dominant.

A Good Part-of-Speech Tagger in about 200 Lines of Python

Up-to-date knowledge about natural language processing is mostly locked away in academia. And academics are mostly pretty self-conscious when we write. We’re careful. We don’t want to stick our necks out too much. But under-confident recommendations suck, so here’s how to write a good part-of-speech tagger.

We have an important announcement about spaCy! Go here for more information.