Who wrote music for La Strada?
Can I see a map of the London subway system?
Who won the 1987 Nobel prize for Literature?
Whom is the current president of the US married to?
What country in Asia has the 3rd largest population?
Where was the 27th president of the US born?
What countries border on the largest country in Africa?
How far from the Equator is the capital of the smallest country in Central America?
What books did the author of War and Peace write?
Does the most populous country in Africa have more people than the most populous country in Europe?
How far is Massachusetts from Taiwan?
Which is bigger, New Hampshire or Vermont?
is venus's gravity stronger than mars's?
How big is the Black Sea?
How deep is the Black Sea?
How long is the Brooklyn Bridge?
How large is the Williamsburg Bridge?
Who designed the M1 Abrams?
When was Niels Bohr born?
What was the outcome in the 2006 Lebanon War?
Give me the date of the Bar Kokhba revolt.
What is Yuri Manin's nationality?
Which people are walking by a lamppost?
Find the person who is pushing a hand-cart.
Where is the man pushing the cart?
The START Natural Language System is a software system designed to answer questions that are posed to it in natural language. START parses incoming questions, matches the queries created from the parse trees against its knowledge base and presents the appropriate information segments to the user. In this way, START provides untrained users with speedy access to knowledge that in many cases would take an expert some time to find.
START (SynTactic Analysis using Reversible Transformations) was developed by Boris Katz at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Currently, the system is undergoing further development by the InfoLab Group, led by Boris Katz. START was first connected to the World Wide Web in December, 1993, and in its several forms has to date answered millions of questions from users around the world.
A key technique called "natural language annotation" helps START connect information seekers to information sources. This technique employs natural language sentences and phrases – annotations – as descriptions of content that are associated with information segments at various granularities. An information segment is retrieved when its annotation matches an input question. This method allows START to handle all variety of media, including text, diagrams, images, video and audio clips, data sets, Web pages, and others.
The natural language processing component of START consists of two modules that share the same grammar. The understanding module analyzes English text and produces a knowledge base that encodes information found in the text. Given an appropriate segment of the knowledge base, the generating module produces English sentences. Used in conjunction with the technique of natural language annotation, these modules put the power of sentence-level natural language processing to use in the service of multi-media information access.
For more information on the START system see our publications.