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WebCrow – A New AL Solving Crosswords

WebCrow 2.0 is a software developed by the University of Siena in collaboration with expert.ai, a leading company in artificial intelligence (AI) for natural language processing (NLP) and comprehension (NLU).  This is a software system designed to solve crossword puzzles. Tasks like crossword puzzles have been informally defined as AI-Complete and are extremely difficult for machines. Webcrow is the first Italian crossword solver and the first system that solves this language game using the Internet as a knowledge base. Webcrow is currently competitive with the average crossword player. Crosswords that are “easy” for experienced people are solved in 15 minutes with 80% correct words and more than 90% correct letters. Webcrow does well at crosswords designed for experts and generally outperforms the average undergraduate student at crosswords of this type.

The University of Siena and expert.ai developed WebCrow to solve crossword puzzles using NLP approaches and various knowledge sources used in NLP such as ontologies and knowledge graphs, as well as the Internet.

An important point in solving a crossword puzzle is understanding the meaning of the clues. It begins with understanding the clue, which leads to a sequence of logical and linguistic steps towards the correct answer.

Marco Gori, a professor for the University of Siena’s Department of Information Engineering and Mathematical Sciences said:

“Can machines solve these as well as humans? How do they compare definitions and answer clues with niche or abstract references? Can they pick up on plays on words, linguistic nuances and even humor? We’re ready to demonstrate how leveraging context can enable  humans and software to work together and take AI-based cognitive abilities to new levels”.

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