The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
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Research Paper #678A

Title:A Formal Reconstruction of Procedural Semantics
Authors:Fernandes,A; Ritchie,GD; Moffat,D
Date:Aug 1995
Presented:Submitted to "Computational Intelligence"
Abstract:The idea of representing the meaning of natural language sentences as procedural expressions which could be evaluated was introduced to computational linguistics by Woods in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and formed the basis of various query interfaces to databases. However, a completely precise definition of the semantics of this procedural representation was never given, with published accounts being semi-formal and heavily dependent on implementation in Lisp. We supply a complete formal definition of a meaning representation language closely based on that of Woods', together with a set-theoretic semantics for all its constructs and an indication of precisely how the supporting database must be structured. The language has been tested on simple databases, and is designed to be independent not only of the domain, but of the particular database management system involved.

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