A prototype thesaurus that offers synonyms based on the context of a word in a sentence, rather than just the word itself, was one of about 40 research projects Microsoft presented Feb. 24 during the first day of its weeklong TechFest in Redmond, Wash., reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Type "financial sector" in a word processor, and the thesaurus suggests "financial system" and "financial industry," instead of synonyms for "financial" and "sector" separately. Or enter an entire sentence, and Word will completely rewrite it.

"Investors are expecting details on the Treasury Department's plans to fix the financial industry"? Nah. How about,...

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