How to write a basic spell checker from scratch
Interesting article on a simple approach to build up a spell checker
One week in 2007, two friends (Dean and Bill) independently told me they were amazed at Google’s spelling correction. Type in a search like [speling] and Google instantly comes back with Showing results for: spelling. I thought Dean and Bill, being highly accomplished engineers and mathematicians, would have good intuitions about how this process works. But they didn’t, and come to think of it, why should they know about something so far outisde their specialty?
I figured they, and others, could benefit from an explanation. The full details of an industrial-strength spell corrector are quite complex (you can read a little about it here or here). But I figured that in the course of a transcontinental plane ride I could write and explain a toy spelling corrector that achieves 80 or 90% accuracy at a processing speed of at least 10 words per second in about half a page of code.
And here it is (or see spell.py):