Attempto is a research project of the University of Zurich with the objective to develop Attempto Controlled English (ACE) and its tools. The project Attempto is jointly supported by the Department of Informatics and the Institute of Computational Linguistics.
Attempto Controlled English (ACE) is a controlled natural language, i.e. a rich subset of standard English designed to serve as knowledge representation language. ACE allows users to express texts precisely, and in the terms of their respective application domain. As any language, ACE must be learned to be used competently, but this amounts to learning the differences between ACE and full English, formulated as a small set of ACE construction and interpretation rules. To simplify using ACE we have been developing the ACE Editor that helps users to construct correct ACE texts without having to learn it. Once written, ACE texts can be read and understood by anybody.
ACE and its tools are intended for professionals who want to use formal notations and formal methods, but may not be familiar with them. Thus the Attempto system has been designed in a way that allows users to work solely on the level of ACE without having to take recourse to its internal logic representation.
ACE appears perfectly natural, but — being a controlled subset of English — is in fact a formal language. ACE texts are computer-processable and can be unambiguously translated into discourse representation structures, a syntactic variant of first-order logic. Discourse representation structures derived from ACE texts have been translated into various other languages, for instance into
and a rule format to be used for Courteous Logic Programs and for stable model semantics.
Using discourse representation structures as inter-lingua we have developed
a bidirectional translation of ACE
into and from OWL 2 and a translation into SWRL.
ACE has been used in several applications,
and was adopted as the controlled language of the
EU Network of Excellence REWERSE
(Reasoning on the Web with Semantics and Rules) and of the project ERGO (Authoring Clinical Practice Guidelines). ACE and its tools will also be used in an extension of the EU project MOLTO (Multilingual Online Translation).
See also: Research Database of the University of Zurich (project 924 and project 5883).