Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 October 2004
IBM Research has over 200 people working on Unstructured Information Management (UIM) technologies with a strong focus on Natural Language Processing (NLP). These researchers are engaged in activities ranging from natural language dialog, information retrieval, topic-tracking, named-entity detection, document classification and machine translation to bioinformatics and open-domain question answering. An analysis of these activities strongly suggested that improving the organization's ability to quickly discover each other's results and rapidly combine different technologies and approaches would accelerate scientific advance. Furthermore, the ability to reuse and combine results through a common architecture and a robust software framework would accelerate the transfer of research results in NLP into IBM's product platforms. Market analyses indicating a growing need to process unstructured information, specifically multilingual, natural language text, coupled with IBM Research's investment in NLP, led to the development of middleware architecture for processing unstructured information dubbed UIMA. At the heart of UIMA are powerful search capabilities and a data-driven framework for the development, composition and distributed deployment of analysis engines. In this paper we give a general introduction to UIMA focusing on the design points of its analysis engine architecture and we discuss how UIMA is helping to accelerate research and technology transfer.