[Know what you want already? Then read the how to shop section. Need a discount? See pricing.]

1. The big picture

If you're interested in a quiet life, forget about computing as a career. Innovation streams on and on in a constant and torrential downpour of The New. SGML is ancient history, XML is passé, and now that you're ok with wikis and social media it's time to get ready for Android, embedded Linux and location-based everything. Cloud computing is one of those hot-off-the-press waves that stands to change it all again... and as usual it isn't the simplest thing to get your head around. If you need the cloud and you're dealing with text (from dusty old web archives to Twitter's daily 50-million), you're in the right place. Read on...

Cloud computing means many things in many contexts. On it means:

GATE is (and always will be) free, but machine time, training, dedicated support and bespoke development is not. Using this site you can rent cloud time to process large batches of documents on vast server farms, or academic clusters. You can push a terabyte of annotated data into an index server and replicate the data across the world. Or just purchase training services and support for the various tools in the GATE family. You can't get a decent cup of tea here, but we're working on it.

1.1. Comparison with other systems

There are several other cloud-based systems out there that do some of what we do. Here are some differences:

Getting started takes a few minutes and a few euros -- come on, what's stopping you?!

2. What's for sale?

Our wares address three scenarios:

  1. You have some text, you want to annotate and index it automatically.
  2. You want to deploy text processing as part of a robust and maintainable semi-automatic process.
  3. You want training, support, maintenance or bespoke development.

Let's take these in turn.

2.1. Text annotation jobs and index servers

This is the most common case:

  1. take one large pile of text (emails, or intranet documents, or twitter posts, etc.)
  2. add value with an annotation process (e.g. link people to their customer database entry, or extract those projects relevant to new calls for tender, or determine how consumers see a new product, etc.)
  3. build an index on top of the annotation
  4. run value-added search and information management services on top of the index

GATE Developer is the best way to build annotation (aka information extraction, text analytics, or semantic annotation) processes -- you can DiY, or hire consultants, or take one of the existing ones. Then you run it over your text and pump the results into an index server -- perhaps Apache Lucene or GATE Mímir.

Go on over to the shop and buy an annotation job (and maybe a Mímir server)...

2.2. Managing text analysis processes

Successful annotation projects (and successful search projects, and just like successful software development in general) need to cater to a range of stakeholders within the organisations that they are built for. From the initial commissioning of a system through its specification, implementation, acceptance testing, deployment and maintenance, many skills, interests and roles are involved.

GATE Teamware implements the GATE process, a workflow that describes the steps you need to take if you want to create predictable and sustainable language processing capabilities in your organisation. There are four sets of steps in the process:

The process is supported by software (notably Teamware, but also GATE Developer and Embedded), but it is not just based on tools: it encapsulates expert knowledge and the use of that knowledge to build, educate and direct multi-role teams whose work involves the complex workflows (or business processes) necessary to do text analysis (etc.) in a cost-effective, sustainable and accurate manner.

Teamware supports the process by implementing the specification, marshalling and management of manual annotation teams for task definition, automatic system creation and quality assurance and quality control. For example, the process of determining the feasibility of an annotation project requires manual annotation and inter-annotator agreement measurement that is implemented as a Teamware workflow:

The outcome is predictable and repeatable engineering processes to address diverse text processing problems.

Buy GATE Teamware servers in the shop.

2.3. Training, support, maintenance

We also supply a range of professional services; see

...or contact us.

3. How to buy stuff

Before you can buy any of our cloud based offerings you need to create an account on, use the Register link at the top right of any page and follow the instructions.

Once registered and logged in you can browse through the shop and decided on the services you wish to purchase.

vouchers The shop doesn't handle money but works instead with vouchers bought from the University of Sheffield's on-line shop. Vouchers are available in multiples of £5, the amount you need to purchase will depend upon the services you wish to use. Once you are ready to buy time on create an account with the University shop and then buy the appropriate amount credit vouchers. Be sure to use the same email address when buying vouchers as when registering for a account so that credit you purchase can automatically be added to your account.

Once you have enough credit you can click through to the checkout where you can review your basket before finalizing your order.

Annotation job purchases should appear instantly within your dashboard. Teamware servers take a little longer to create and we will e-mail you when the server is ready for use.

All past purchases can be monitored and controlled via your dashboard.

4. Pricing and discounts

We run your jobs in the cloud and we pass on the cloud costs, plus a small premium. We don't have our own private cloud, so each job we run costs us money. Therefore we can't run a zero cost service, but we do supply discounts and freebies for people wanting to try the service. To get a discount:

A last word on pricing: the underlying software is all open source, so there's nothing to stop you rolling your own if you can't afford the cloud costs.

5. Getting help

Still in the dark? There are several ways to get more help:

6. Terms and Conditions

Our terms and conditions, including confidentiality provisions, are specified here.

Some notable points: