version 2.20151210


Cloud is a group of nodes. It can be also thought of as a group of subtrees headed by the nodes. There is a relation between the nodes but we are not sure (or do not yet want to explicitly mark) what direction the dependencies should go. An example is a preposition and its noun phrase: one annotation scheme requires that the noun phrase depends on the preposition, another scheme wants the preposition to depend on the noun phrase.

The nodes (subtrees) that are members of the cloud are called participants. Before they entered the cloud one of them was probably the head and the others were its dependents. We may need these dependencies in order to detect and construct a Cloud object but then they are not important for the cloud. Before the cloud is destroyed, it will select one of the participants the head and make the others depend on it, based on user preferences. Cloud is a temporary internal structure that will not be saved in the Treex format on the disk.

Cloud can behave as a generalized Node. It has a parent, an afun (i.e. label of its relation to its parent), and the is_member attribute (i.e. it can be a conjunct). Besides the children of the individual participants, hidden in their subtrees, there can be also shared modifiers: nodes (subtrees) depending on the whole cloud. When we are finished with the cloud, these subtrees will be attached to whatever node we select as the head of the cloud.

Technically all referenced nodes (participants, parent and shared modifiers) are objects of the class Cloud, not Node. Undirected dependencies can just be handled recursively and they will interact correctly (for instance, a chain of AuxP-AuxC-something). Any Node can be trivially converted to a Cloud with a single participant.

The concept of cloud adds a new dimension of relations to the node network we keep in Treex. The first dimension is the linear ordering of nodes according to the word order. The second dimension contains the parent-child relations between nodes or clouds. The third dimension connects subtrees (or clouds) that are participants of the same cloud.

Cloud should be useful for transformations between different annotation styles, especially in cases where multiple clouds with different rules interact.

We may want in future to make the Coordination class a special (and most complex) case of Cloud. Philosophically, coordination is a cloud. Technically however, our current implementation of the Coordination class operates on Nodes, not Clouds. Therefore if a Node involved in Coordination is also part of a Cloud and the head preference within the Cloud changes, the Coordination will be no longer valid (see also discussion in the documentation of Coordination). Similarly the current implementation of Cloud must carefully check (using Coord afun and is_member attribute) whether the Nodes it deals with are involved in coordination.

The implementation must also make sure that code that does not know about clouds will still see a valid tree. It may be achieved by adding new temporary Node objects:

There are two temporary artificial nodes: the head node and the cloud node.
An artificial node with afun Cloud will serve as the temporary parent of all participants. They keep their original afuns. We may need the afuns when we reorganize the relations between participants.
Another artificial node will be the parent of the Cloud node and of any shared modifiers. This node will be attached to the parent node of the cloud, with the afun that reflects the relation between the cloud and its parent.
If the parent of the cloud is a participant of another cloud, our head node's parent is directly the participant node. If the parent is the other cloud as a whole (we are a shared modifier), our head node's parent is the head node of the parent cloud.
Single nodes that do not participate in any explicitly defined cloud can be viewed as clouds with head and cloud nodes collapsed into one. No artificial nodes will be generated for them. There is no need to distinguish between shared and private modifiers.



Daniel Zeman <>


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