Questionnaire 3: Question Answering (QA)

Have you ever asked yourself what happens when you introduce a question in your computer? No? Never? Then you will get surprised with today’s post because I am going to talk about Question Answering (QA).

Question Answering (QA)

Question Answering (QA)

Question Answering (QA) is, in information retrieval, the task of answering automatically a question asked in natural language. In order to provide you with a proper answer a QA computer program can use either a pre-structured database or a collection of natural language documents (such as the World Wide Web, for instance).

QA computer programs are designed in order to be able to deal with a wide range of question types including: What, When, Why, Where, Who, How, definitions… Moreover, two types of question can be distinguished. In the first place, we have the closed-domain questions, which deal under one specific topic. In the second place, we have the open-domain questions, which deal with almost everything. This second type of question is much more difficult to give an answer due to the higher requirement of Natural Language Processing (NLP).

However, QA methods still suffer from some little problems. Let’s mention a few of them: QA programs have to be able to “understand” the question; they have to know how to extract the most relevant information; they have to be able to formulate an answer in natural language; they have to provide you with the requested information quickly; they have to deal with cross-lingual questions, etc.

In spite of all of this, QA computer programs are evolving extremely quickly and they are absolutely fulfilling our expectations. We are day after day provided by these QA computer programs with the requested information and the results cannot be more satisfactory. Is not that right?


(Note: in the future this article could be modified several times in order to include more up-to-date information.)

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