Learning to Parse Database Queries Using Inductive Logic Programming

John M. Zelle, Raymond J. Mooney

This paper presents recent work using the CHILL parser acquisition system to automate the construction of a natural-language interface for database queries. CHILL treats parser acquisition as the learning of search-control rules within a logic program representing a shift-reduce parser and uses techniques from Inductive Logic Programming to learn relational control knowledge. Starting with a general framework for constructing a suitable logical form, CHILL is able to train on a corpus comprising sentences paired with database queries and induce parsers that map subsequent sentences directly into executable queries. Experimental results with a complete database-query application for U.S. geography show that CHILL is able to learn parsers that outperform a pre-existing, hand-crafted counterpart. These results demonstrate the ability of a corpus-based system to produce more than purely syntactic representations. They also provide direct evidence of the utility of an empirical approach at the level of a complete natural language application.


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