Answering Science Questions: Deduction with Answer Extraction and Procedural Attachment

Richard Waldinger, Jeff Shrager

An approach to question answering through automated deduction is advocated. Answers to questions are extracted from proofs of associated conjectures over an axiomatic theory of the subject domain. External knowledge resources, including data and software, are consulted through a mechanism known as procedural attachment. A researcher ignorant of the subject domain theory or its logical language can formulate questions via a query elicitation facility. A similar device allows an expert to extend the theory. An English explanation for each answer, and a justification for its correctness, is constructed automatically from the proof by which it was extracted. A deductive approach has been applied in planetary astronomy, geography, intelligence analysis, and, most recently, molecular biology and medical research applications. It is argued that the constructs in the Semantic Web languages, including OWL with SWRL, are insufficiently expressive for this kind of application.

Subjects: 1.6 Engineering And Science; 15.9 Theorem Proving

Submitted: Jan 25, 2008

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