Utilizing typed dependency subtree patterns for answer sentence generation in question answering systems


Question Answering over Linked Data (QALD) refer to the use of Linked Data by question answering systems, and in recent times this has become increasingly popular as it opens up a massive Linked Data cloud which is a rich source of encoded knowledge. However, a major shortfall of current QALD systems is that they focus on presenting a single fact or factoid answer which is derived using SPARQL (SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language) queries. There is now an increased interest in development of human-like systems which would be able to answer questions and even hold conversations by constructing sentences akin to humans. In this paper, we introduce a new answer construction and presentation system, which utilizes the linguistic structure of the source question and the factoid answer to construct an answer sentence which closely emanates a human-generated answer. We employ both semantic Web technology and the linguistic structure to construct the answer sentences. The core of the research resides on extracting dependency subtree patterns from the questions and utilizing them in conjunction with the factoid answer to generate the answer sentence with a natural feel akin to an answer from a human when asked the question. We evaluated the system for both linguistic accuracy and naturalness using human evaluation. These evaluation processes showed that the proposed approach is able to generate answer sentences which have linguistic accuracy and natural readability quotients of more than 70%. In addition, we also carried out a feasibility analysis on using automatic metrics for answer sentence evaluation. The results from this phase showed that the there is not a strong correlation between the results from automatic metric evaluation and the human ratings of the machine-generated answers.

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The research reported in this paper is a part of a research funded by the Auckland University of Technology.

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Correspondence to Rivindu Perera.

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Perera, R., Nand, P. & Naeem, A. Utilizing typed dependency subtree patterns for answer sentence generation in question answering systems. Prog Artif Intell 6, 105–119 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13748-017-0113-9

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  • Answer presentation
  • Question answering
  • Dependency parsing
  • Linked Data
  • Semantic Web