Yanli: A Powerful Natural Language Front-End Tool
An important issue in achieving acceptance of computer systems used by the nonprogramming community is the ability to communicate with these systems in natural language. Often, a great deal of time in the design of any such system is devoted to the natural language front end. An obvious way to simplify this task is to provide a portable natural language front-end tool or facility that is sophisticated enough to allow for a reasonable variety of input; allows modification; and, yet, is easy to use. This paper describes such a tool that is based on augmented transition networks (ATNs). It allows for user input to be in sentence or nonsentence form or both, provides a detailed parse tree that the user can access, and also provides the facility to generate responses and save information. The system provides a set of ATNs or allows the user to construct ATNs using system utilities. The system is written in Franz Lisp and was developed on a DEC VAX 11/780 running the ULTRIX-32 operating system.
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