The Energy, Environmental, and Economic Apprentice: A Question Answering System

Harry E. Mynik and Richard Scherl

This paper describes our work in progress on building a Question Answering System. It is a prototype computer "apprentice system" to aid researchers and students in addressing the energy, environmental, and economic (EE and E) issues which arise in studies of integrated energy policy assessment. Much of the task of forming a reasoned opinion about such issues involves finding the relevant numbers for the questions at hand, and then combining them mathematically, to obtain estimates answering the questions at varying levels of detail and sophistication. We believe that both processes, of accessing the basic numbers and of combining them to draw new conclusions, could take less time and effort than now, and could thereby be made appreciably more efficient and productive, through a system which would enable the user to ask questions at a "high level" and have the system find the appropriate numbers and then calculate the answers.

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