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Is There Natural Language after Data Bases?

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.1996, 00:00 by Jaime G. Carbonell
The undisputed favorite application for natural language interfaces has been data base query. Why? The reasons range from the relative simplicity of the task, including shallow semantic processing, to the potential real-world utility of the resultant system. Because of such reasons, the data base query task was an excellent paradigmatic problem for computational linguistics, and for the very same reasons it is now time for the field to abandon its protective cocoon and progress beyond this rather limiting task. But, one may ask, what task shall then become the new paradigmatic problem? Alas, such question presupposes that a single, universally acceptable, syntactically and semantically challenging task exists. I will argue that better progress can be made by diversification and focusing on different theoretically meaningful problems, with some research groups opting to investigate issues arisinq from the development of integrated multi-purpose systems.

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Copyright © 1996 by the VLDB Endowment. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the VLDB copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by the permission of the Very Large Data Base Endowment. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a fee and/or special permission from the Endowment.

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01/09/1996

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