A question-answering system for AP Chemistry: Assessing KR&R Technologies

K. Barker, S. Chaw, J. Fan, B. Porter, D. Tecuci, P. Yeh, V. Chaudhri, D. Israel, S. Mishra, P. Romero, P. Clark.


Basic research in knowledge representation and reasoning (KR&R) has steadily advanced over the years, but it has been difficult to assess the capability of fielded systems derived from this research. In this paper, we present a knowledge-based question-answering system that we developed as part of a broader effort by Vulcan Inc. to assess KR&R technologies, and the result of its assessment. The challenge problem presented significant new challenges for knowledge representation, compared with earlier such assessments, due to the wide variability of question types that the system was expected to answer. Our solution integrated several modern KR&R technologies, in particular semantically well-defined frame systems, automatic classification methods, reusable ontologies, a methodology for knowledge base construction, and a novel extension of methods for explanation generation. The resulting system exhibited high performance, achieving scores for both accuracy and explanation which were comparable to human performance on similar tests. While there are qualifications to this result, it is a significant achievement and an informative data point about the state of the art in KR&R, and reflects significant progress by the field.


  title={{A Question-Answering System for AP Chemistry: Assessing KR\&R Technologies}},
  author={K. Barker and S. Chaw and J. Fan and B. Porter and D. Tecuci and P. Yeh and V. Chaudhri and D. Israel and S. Mishra and P. Romero and P. Clark.}
  booktitle={Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 2004)},



Dan G. Tecuci
Last modified: Thu Oct 16 11:17:14 CDT 2008