Norman Haas, Gary G. Hendrix
The problem addressed in this paper is how to enable a computer system to acquire facts about new domains from tutors who are experts in their respective fields, but who have little or no training in computer science. The information to be acquired is that needed to support question-answering activities. The basic acquisition approach is "learning by being told." We have been especially interested in exploring the notion of simultaneously learning not only new concepts, but also the linguistic constructions used to express those concepts. As a research vehicle we have developed a system that is preprogrammed with deductive algorithms and a fixed set of syntactic/semantic rules covering a small subset of English. It has been endowed with sufficient seed concepts and seed vocabulary to support effective tutorial interaction. Furthermore, the system is capable of learning new concepts and vocabulary, and can apply its acquired knowledge in a prescribed range of problem-solving situations.