Information Sciences vol:181 issue:24 pages:5412-5434
This article provides a comprehensive and comparative overview of question answering technology. It presents the question answering task from an information retrieval perspective and emphasises the importance of retrieval
models, i.e., representations of queries and information documents, and retrieval functions which are used for estimating the relevance between a query and an answer candidate. The survey suggests a general question answering architecture that steadily increases the complexity of the representation level of questions and information objects. On the one hand, natural language queries are reduced to keyword-based searches, on the other hand, knowledge bases are queried with structured or logical queries obtained from the natural language questions, and answers are obtained through reasoning. We discuss different levels of processing yielding bag-of-words-based and more complex representations integrating part-of-speech tags, classification of the expected answer type, semantic roles, discourse analysis, translation into a SQL-like language and logical representations.