Question Answering Systems: Papers from the AAAI Fall Symposium
Vinay Chaudhri and Richard Fikes, Cochairs
November 5-7, 1999, North Falmouth, Massachusetts
Since the days of the Turing Test, question answering (QA) has been a powerful paradigm in AI. Even though AI has diversified much beyond the notion of intelligent behavior proposed in the Turing test, QA remains a fundamental capability needed by a large class of systems. In addition, it is a powerful methodological tool to structure a task and specify its scope using a question grammar. The QA paradigm extends beyond AI systems to query processing in database systems, and many analytical tasks that involve gathering, correlating, and analyzing information can naturally be formulated as QA problems. In addition, with the recent explosion of information available on the world-wide web, QA is a compelling framework for finding information that closely matches user needs. The symposium was aimed at bringing together diverse techniques from AI (more specifically, knowledge representation and reasoning) and database systems (more specifically, query processing) that could be used to build QA systems. The specific topics covered included knowledge bases and ontologies for question answering systems, inference and query processing techniques, and performance evaluation methodologies.