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CLT seminar: Cleo Condoravdi - Domain-specific interpretation within a general-purpose NLP system


Domain knowledge is supposed to help guide automated natural language understanding (NLU) but how exactly? In this talk we present work on using domain models to guide text interpretation, in the context of a project that aims to interpret English questions as a sequence of queries to be answered from structured databases.

We discuss how a broad-coverage and ambiguity-enabled natural language processing (NLP) system is adapted to produce domain-specific logical forms, using knowledge of the domain to zero in on the appropriate interpretation. A theorem prover then attempts to prove the logical forms by reasoning over an axiomatic domain theory that constitutes a higher-level abstraction of the contents of a set of related databases, identifying the groundings, and retrieving the values through procedural attachments semantically linked to the databases. The linguistic analysis component is thus responsible for providing a high-level, implementation-independent description of the domain-specific information in the NL question. The reasoning and retrieval component then aligns the language with the database structure and pulls out the desired information from the databases.

Knowledge of the domain can be used to construct the intended interpretation by providing a basis for disambiguation and relation specification. But an external domain model is not directly a model of interpretation for the language of the questions. To get at such an interpretation requires an intermediate layer of semantic analysis that constructs a network of implicit semantic links based on the syntactically available links between expressions. We describe how these intermediate structures help to both disambiguate the text, and convert it to appropriate logical forms that can be instantiated by values constructed from fields in the relevant databases.

Date: 2014-03-20 10:30 - 11:30

Location: L308, Lennart Torstenssonsgatan 8


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