|From:||"Adrian Walker" <adriandwalker@xxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Wed, 13 Feb 2008 07:58:37 -0500|
Hi Jakub & All --|
A while ago, Pat Cassidy raised a good question about NL ambiguity and whether it is a show stopper without long term research into full natural language understanding.
As many folks on this list know, there's an online system [IBL] that supports the writing and running of database applications -- as rules in open vocabulary, executable English. Pat's question was about a specific application in the oil industry, but it serves to illustrate one way of handling ambiguity.
As for how ambiguity can creep into IBL, I look at the first example:
estimated demand some-id in some-region is for some-quantity gallons of some-finished-product in some-month of some-year
in that-month an order for that-finished-product can consist in whole or part of some-base-product
in that-month the refinery some-name has committed to schedule some-amount gallons of that-base-product
we have some-method transportation from refinery that-name to region that-region
for demand that-id for that-finished-product refinery that-name can supply that-amount gallons of that-base-product
. . . and then consider that, if someone creates a similar rule with the third line being:
in that-month the refinery some-name has uncommitted scheduled production some-amount gallons of that-base-product
There will be two rules having similar intended meaning. , but with the difference that in the second case it is more explicit that the refinery's output can be provided to fill a new order, and is not already committed. Whether the first rule actually conflicts with the second depends on whether the one who wrote the first rule actually intended to say that the output was not already committed (which depends on a time point, not explicitly mentioned in the rule). The third line might also be:
in that-month the refinery some-name has uncommitted scheduled production some-amount gallons of that-base-product on date some-date
If someone, searching for the second rule (looking for uncommitted production) runs a query that fires the first rule, they may mistakenly believe that there is an uncommitted production when all of the output may in fact be already committed. This is just one example, and I am sure you can find many others, of where different people, intending to say the same thing, may phrase it differently enough to create problems in an inference system.
To avoid unintentional generation of conflicting rules and inferences, I expect that a system will need true understanding of linguistic input.
Adrian replied to Pat as follows:
You raise a good general point illustrated with committed vs uncommitted in the rules for the oil industry supply chain example.
Fortunately, the angel is in the details. The IBL provides two mechanisms that help in such situations -- 1. context, and 2. explanation.
1. If you add the "uncommitted" rule as you suggest, the system responds as follows
In this rule, the line in some-month the refinery some-name has
uncommitted scheduled production some-amount gallons of
some-base-product should be (a) the conclusion of some rule, or (b)
the heading of a table, or (c) a predefined sentence.... You may like
to consider the sentence in some-month the refinery some-name has
committed to schedule some-amount gallons of some-product
2. If you just leave the "uncommitted" rule in place, and ask for an oil production schedule, an explanation shows this step:
estimated demand 523 in NJ is for 1000 gallons of product-y in October of 2005
in October an order for product-y can consist in whole or part of product-x
in October the refinery Shell Canada One has committed to schedule 300 gallons of product-x
we have truck transportation from refinery Shell Canada One to region NJ
for demand 523 for product-y refinery Shell Canada One can supply 300 gallons of product-x
The context and explanation mechanisms are generic, so they also address the general point you illustrate with your example.
The other aspect of course is that anyone with appropriate permission can edit the rules. So, there is also a Wikipedia-like social mechanism in place. For example, you could now go in and change a couple of rules so that your "uncommitted" improvement works, and shows up in explanations.
(End of Adrian's reply to Pat)
The full example is
and there's a paper about it
So, the basic point is that if you bring in some appropriate technology to watch and comment on what people write, and if you also exploit the 'social' Wiki aspect of the Web, then you can to a useful extent have your NL cake and eat it -- without choking on ambiguity.
With apologies to folks who have seen some of this before.
[IBL] Internet Business Logic
A Wiki and SOA Endpoint for Executable Open Vocabulary English
Online at www.reengineeringllc.com Shared use is free
On 2/13/08, Jakub Kotowski <jakubkotowski@xxxxxxx> wrote:
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