Well, not much progress on the main task has occurred in recent days. I’m slowly sinking into a swamp of details around how to implement ideas in code.
There was a long trek through C#, mono and MySQL that turned out to mostly be a dead end. It is possible to put the WordNet data into MySQL, and to access the database from C#/mono on Linux, but it’s not easy. I think the Linux tools are not really ready to be used quite that way by people with my limited skills, and I’m not willing to lock myself into a Windows-only platform.
The current frontrunner seems to be Python with the NLTK toolkit, which offers a lot of high quality AI code that promises to be useful. It seems fairly straightforward to get the whole thing running with a web front end. Unfortunately, NLTK really wants to be running on Python 2.5+ and my server is on Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (with Python 2.4). I guess it’s time to upgrade the server to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS anyway.
Once all this is done maybe the main task can resume. I have run across a bunch of work that has been done on the Semantic Web that seems very close to what I’m trying to do. Things like the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL) look like exactly what I’m after and will likely be among the first “meaning storage” schemes I try.