Two-way Bridge Between Language and Logic

About the project:

Research Outline

This project is part of ARDA's Advanced Question and Answering for Intelligence (Aquaint) program which seeks innovative, creative, high-risk, high-payoff research to achieve significant advancements in technologies and methods for advanced question answering against large heterogeneous collections of structured and unstructured information.

Question-answering systems have tended to operate at one of two ends of a spectrum: the language end, or the knowledge/reasoning end. Open-domain full-text systems have broad coverage, but they tend to lose precision by not taking the linguistic context of source information into account, and they tend to lose recall because they are too sensitive to the linguistic form of source information. Knowledge/reasoning systems can provide higher precision by selecting answers that give the right information in the right context, and higher recall by operating on canonical representations of the source information and by composing answers that require proofs from information gathered from multiple sources. But KR systems tend to be narrow in coverage, only providing answers in domains that have been carefully axiomatized.

We built a crosscutting linguistic technology that provides a two-way bridge that links these effective but quite different approaches. This enables a user to ask questions in natural language and have broad coverage from a large text database while also leveraging the deep capabilities of a first-class multi-source reasoning engine. Building on our high-performance parsing and generation engine and broad-coverage English grammar, we provide:

For descriptions of the components of this project, including lists of relevant publications, see:

This project is a component of Asker, our ambiguity-enabled, scalable knowledge repository, which allows for natural-language queries over massive document collections.


Selected Publications

Papers concerning related components

This Aquaint project began in May 2004 and ends October 2006. The links below contain lists of papers which relate to the key components of our work on the mapping from language to logic. Many of these papers are available electronically.
Tracy Holloway King
Palo Alto Research Center
3333 Coyote Hill Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94304 USA
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