Getting started

pteichman edited this page Feb 18, 2011 · 4 revisions


Cobe uses Python setuptools for distribution and installation. It is distributed via the Python Package Index which means that installation can be as simple as:

$ easy_install cobe

If you don’t have easy_install, you can download the latest version of Cobe and run its install target directly:

$ ./ install

Starter concepts

Cobe’s data file is called a “brain”. This is where it stores statistical information about the text it has learned and some basic information about how the brain was first configured. The brain contains two N-order Markov chains, one trained in a forward direction and one in reverse. By default, these are 5th order (the same as MegaHAL). The order is configurable at brain creation time.

You can train the brain with text using the cobe learn command or using the Brain.learn() API. You can get it to reply by interacting with cobe console or the Brain.reply() API.

The cobe command

Cobe comes with a command line tool that can be used to interact with a brain. It’s a script with subcommands, which will be familiar to anyone used to CVS-style usage.

Quick start

$ cobe console

Running the console command with no arguments opens the brain found in cobe.brain in the current directory (initializing it if it doesn’t exist). This command loops forever, training the brain with a line of input from the user and then replying to that line.

The brain in this example has been trained using sample data from Wikipedia

$ cobe console
> good morning!
Anthracite is a good friend of Penelope (Kristin Wiig).

Learning larger amounts of text

Interacting directly with the console is fine, but Cobe’s reply quality really picks up after it has learned a few thousand lines. The command-line tool includes a command that loops over a text file, learning each line:

$ cobe learn <text file>

Built in IRC bot

If you have the Twisted framework installed, Cobe comes with an IRC bot. It learns all the text said on a specified server and channel. When spoken to directly, the bot will reply.

$ cobe irc-client -s <irc server hostname> -c "#channel"

Simple API

You can find the main API documentation via pydoc (pydoc cobe.Brain), but there are three steps for simple usage:

1. Create a Brain object, passing the filename you’d like to use. This will be created if it doesn’t exist.
2. Learn some text using Brain.learn, which takes the string to learn.
3. Generate replies with Brain.reply, which takes a string that seeds the reply.

#!/usr/bin/env python
from cobe.brain import Brain

b = Brain("cobe.brain")
b.learn("This is the only thing I know!")
print b.reply("Hello cobe")

This yields:

user@host:~ $ python
This is the only thing I know!
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