This Article 
   
 Share 
   
 Bibliographic References 
   
 Add to: 
 
Digg
Furl
Spurl
Blink
Simpy
Google
Del.icio.us
Y!MyWeb
 
 Search 
   
A Form-Based Natural Language Front-End to a CIM Database
March-April 1997 (vol. 9 no. 2)
pp. 238-250

Abstract—This paper presents a methodology for developing a user interface that combines fourth generation interface tools (SQL forms) with a natural language processor for a database management system. The natural language processor consists of an index, a lexicon, and a parser. The index is used to uniquely identify each form in the system through a conceptual representation of its purpose. The form fields specify database or nondatabase fields whose values are either entered by the user (user-defined) or are derived by the form (system-defined) in response to user input. A set of grammar rules are associated with each form. The lexicon consists of all words recognized by the system, their grammatical categories, roots, their associations (if any) with database objects and forms. The parser scans a natural language query to identify a form in a bottom-up fashion. The information requested in the user query is determined in a top-down manner by parsing through the grammar rules associated with the identified form. Extragrammatical inputs with limited deviations from the grammar rules are supported. Combining a natural language processor with SQL forms allows processing data modification tasks without violating any database integrity constraint, having duplicate records, or entering invalid data. A prototype natural language interface is described as a front-end to an ORACLE database for a computer integrated manufacturing system.

[1] D.G. Bobrow, R.M. Kaplan, M. Kay, D.A. Norman, H. Thompson, and R. Winorad, "GUS, A Frame-Driven Dialog System," Artificial Intelligence, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 155-173, 1977.
[2] T.O. Boucher, M.A. Jafari, S. Kim, and J. McPhail, "Functional Architecture for Packaged Food Manufacturing," Technical Report TWP 37 CAFT, Rutgers Univ., 1991.
[3] J. Choobineh, "FORMFLEX: A User Interface Tool for Forms Definitions and Management," J.M. Carey, ed., Human Factors in Management Information Systems.New Jersey: Ablex Publishing, 1988.
[4] J. Choobineh, M.V. Mannino, and V.P. Tseng, "A Form-Based Approach for Database Analysis and Design," Comm. ACM, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 108-120, 1992.
[5] D.M. Dilts and W. Wu, "Knowledge-Based Systems for Integrating Computer Integrated Manufacturing Databases," Proc. Third Int'l Conf. Expert Systems Leading Edge Production Operations Management, pp. 255-268, 1989.
[6] D.M. Dilts and W. Wu, "Using Knowledge-Based Technology to Integrate CIM Databases," IEEE Trans. Knowledge and Data, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 237-245, 1991.
[7] D.W. Embley and R.E. Krimbell, "A Scheme-Driven Natural Language Query Translator," Proc. 13th Ann. Computer Science Conf., pp. 292-297, 1985.
[8] J.A. Feldman, J.R. Low, D.C. Swinehart, and R.H. Taylor, "Recent Developments in SAIL," Technical Report STAN-CS-308 and AIM-176, Stanford Univ., 1972.
[9] A. Gangopadhyay, "Using Conceptual Dependencies for Database Design and Query Processing in a CIM Environment," PhD thesis, Rutgers Univ., May 1993.
[10] N. Goldman, "Conceptual Generation," Conceptual Information Processing, chap. 6, pp. 289-371. North-Holland/American Elsevier, 1975.
[11] B.J. Grosz, "TEAM: A Transportable Natural-Language Interface System," Proc. Applied Natural Language Conf., 1983.
[12] B.J. Grosz, D.E. Appelt, P.A. Martin, and F.C.N. Periera, "TEAM: An Experiment in the Design of Transportable Natural-Language Interfaces," Artificial Intelligence, vol. 32, pp. 173-243, 1987.
[13] P.J. Hayes, "Entity-Oriented Parsing," Proc. 10th Int'l Conf. Computational Linguistics, pp. 212-217, 1984.
[14] G. Hendrix, E. Sacerdoti, D. Sagalowicz, and J. Slocum, "Developing a Natural Language Interface to Complex Data," ACM Trans. Database System, vol. 3, no. 2 pp. 105-147, 1978.
[15] C. Hewitt, "Viewing Control Structures as Patterns of Passing Messages," Artificial Intelligence, vol. 8, pp. 323-364, 1977.
[16] H. Ishikawa, Y. Izumida, T. Yoshino, T. Hoshiaoi, and A. Makinouchi, "KID, Designing a Knowledge-Based Natural Language Interface," IEEE Expert, pp. 57-71, Summer 1987.
[17] J.M. Janas, "The Semantics-Based Natural Language Interface in Relational Databases," L. Bolc and M. Jarke, eds., Cooperative Interfaces to Information Systems, pp. 143-188, Springer-Verlag, 1986.
[18] M. Jarke, "External Semantic Query Simplification: A Graph Theoretic Approach and its Implementation in PROLOG," L. Kershberg, ed., Expert Database Systems: Proc. First Int'l Workshop, pp. 675-690, 1986.
[19] M. Kao, N. Cercone, and W.-S. Luk, "Providing Quality Responses with Natural Language Interfaces: The Null Value Problem," IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. 14, no. 7, pp. 959-984, July 1988.
[20] R. Lafore, Waite Group's Microsoft C Programming for the PC.Indiana: Howard W. Sams and Co., 1989.
[21] P. McFetridge, G. Hall, N. Cercone, and W.S. Luk, "System X: A Portable Natural Language Interface," R. Goebel, ed., Proc. Seventh Biennial Conf. Canadian Soc. Computational Studies of Intelligence, pp. 30-38, 1988.
[22] Natural Language Inc., Natural Language Retrieval of Database Information, 1986.
[23] Oracle Corp., Pro*C for MS-DOS Getting Started, Apr. 1990.
[24] Oracle Corp., CASE Dictionary Reference Guide,Redwood City, Calif., 1991.
[25] Oracle Corp., SQL*Forms Designer's Reference, Version 2.0, Belmont, Calif. Apr. 1989.
[26] E. Rich and K. Knight, Artificial Intelligence, Mc-Graw Hill, 1991.
[27] C.K. Riesbeck, "Conceptual Analysis," Conceptual Information Processing, chap. 4, pp. 83-155. North-Holland/American Elsevier, 1975.
[28] S. Sabbagh, "SESAME: An Application of Entity Relationship Models to a Natural Language User Interface," H. Kangassalo, ed., Entity-Relationship Approach: The Core of Conceptual Modeling, pp. 319-331, North-Holland, New York, 1991.
[29] R.C. Schank, "Conceptualizations Underlying Natural Language," R.C. Schank and K.M. Colby, eds., Computer Models of Thought and Language, chap. 5, pp. 187-247.San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Co., 1973.
[30] R.C. Schank, "Conceptual Dependency Theory," Conceptual Information Processing, chap. 3, pp. 22-82. North-Holland/American Elsevier, 1975.
[31] S.T. Shenoy and Z.M. Ozsoyoglu, "A System for Semantic Query ptimization," ACM SIGMOD, pp. 181-195, 1987.
[32] S.T. Shenoy and Z.M. Ozsoyoglu, “Design and Implementation of a Semantic Query Optimizer,” IEEE Trans. Knowledge and Data Eng., vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 344–361, 1989.
[33] M. Templeton and J. Burger, "Considerations for the Development of Natural-Language Interfaces to Database Management Systems," L. Bolc and M. Jarke, eds., Cooperative Interfaces to Information Systems, pp. 67-99,Springer-Verlag, 1986.
[34] H.R. Tenannt, K.M. Ross, R.M. Saenz, C.W. Thompson, and J.R. Miller, "Menu-Based Natural Language Understanding," Proc. 21st Ann. Meeting Assoc. Computational Linguistics, MIT, Cambridge, Mass., 1983.
[35] H.R. Tennant, K.M. Ross, and C.W. Thompson, "Usable Natural Language Interfaces through Natural Language Understanding," Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems,Boston, 1983.
[36] S.W. Tyler, J.L. Schlossberg, L.K. Gargan Jr., R.A. Cook, and J.W. Sullivan, "An Intelligent Interface Architecture for Adaptive Interaction," J. W. Sullivan and S. W. Tyler, eds., Intelligent User Interfaces, pp. 85-109. ACM Press (Addison-Wesley), 1991.
[37] D.L. Waltz, "An English Language Question Answering System for a Large Relational Database," Comm. ACM, vol. 21, no. 7, pp. 526-539, 1978.
[38] R. Wilensky, "Understanding Goal-Based Stories," technical report, Dept. of Computer Science, Yale Univ., 1978.
[39] W.A. Woods, "Transition Network Grammars for Natural Language Analysis," Comm. ACM, vol. 13, no. 10, 1970, pp. 591-606.
[40] W.A. Woods, "An Experimental Parsing System for Transition Network Grammars," R. Rustin, ed., Natural Language Processing, pp. 111-154. Algorithmic Press, 1973.
[41] W.A. Woods, "Semantics and Quantification in Natural Language Question Answering," M. Yovits, ed., Advances in Computers.New York: Academic Press 1978.
[42] W. Wu and D.M. Dilts, "Integrating Diverse CIM Data Bases: The Role of Natural Language Interface," IEEE Trans. Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 1,331-1,347, Nov./Dec. 1992.

Index Terms:
User interface, natural language processing, query processing, database management system, 4GL.
Citation:
Nabil R. Adam, Aryya Gangopadhyay, "A Form-Based Natural Language Front-End to a CIM Database," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 238-250, March-April 1997, doi:10.1109/69.591449
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.