Meaningful Machines produces language technologies based on a unique suite of methods that automate machine understanding of natural language. The company is developing technologies for use in machine translation (MT), text mining, machine learning, and other applications that benefit from machine understanding.


New York City-based Meaningful Machines was founded in 2000 when technology inventor Eli Abir partnered with Steve Klein and David Miller of Apple Core Holdings to develop a multi-lingual URL system for users of non-Latin character sets such as Chinese, Japanese, and Hebrew. Apple Core Holdings, a private investment company, has been a prominent seed investor in several technology companies including, a leading domain name registrar. The patented multi-lingual URL system, called Internet Driver, meaningfully translates domain names and e-mail addresses, allowing users to access any Web page and send e-mail using addresses in their own language.

During the development of Internet Driver, the company also began working on methods for the translation of languages in general, starting with algorithms that automated learning and natural language understanding.

Dr. Jaime Carbonell

By the second half of 2001, Meaningful Machines had developed and tested the first version of its MT methodology. The company sought to vet the system with an outside expert, and approached Dr. Jaime Carbonell, a world-renown expert in the fields of MT and machine learning. Dr. Carbonell is the Allen Newell Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the founder of the Language Technologies Institute (LTI) at CMU. LTI is the premier research institution on language technologies in the U.S., with a long history in machine translation, text mining, search engines and related technologies.

In November 2001, Dr. Carbonell reviewed Meaningful Machines’ technology and wrote an assessment of the system. In his report, issued in February 2002, Dr. Carbonell stated:

“[T]he Meaningful Machines translation method is clearly the most promising and theoretically important MT development in the past 20 years and probably since the advent of machine translation itself.”

In September 2002, Meaningful Machines began its focused effort on MT, and Dr. Carbonell took a half-time leave from his duties at CMU to work with Meaningful Machines as a visiting scientist. He was appointed Chief Science Officer in March 2003. Dr. Carbonell oversees system development and testing.

Machine Translation Platform

After several years of R&D, Meaningful Machines has developed an MT platform that represents a breakthrough in both the quality and extensibility of MT. The Spanish-to-English prototype, which is not yet fully enabled, already exceeds all other systems known to the company in translation quality and is expected to approach human-quality in the near term. More on the Company’s MT technology.

Advisors: Danny Hillis, Mario Cuomo

The company has attracted several other luminaries from a variety of fields who now sit on Meaningful Machines’ Advisory Board, including: Governor Mario Cuomo (former governor of the State of New York) who joined as public policy advisor; and Dr. W. Daniel Hillis (co-chair and CTO, Applied Minds; pioneer of massive parallel supercomputers; co-founder, Thinking Machines) who joined as technology advisor.

Other Technologies

In addition to its MT technologies, Meaningful Machines’ has developed several other language-related technologies in the fields of text mining and multilingual URLs.

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