The University of Sussex

Incremental evaluation: an approach to the semantic interpretation of noun phrases

Christopher S. Mellish

A new approach to reference evaluation, called incremental evaluation is presented. This approach is designed to capture the notion that a phrase's referent can only in general be determined by an analysis of the global context of the phrase's use. It is also designed to support the idea that useful semantic information can be extracted from a text before a global analysis is complete. Incremental evaluation can be an effective strategy in a domain where reference evaluation is characterisable as a constraint satisfaction task. It is illustrated with examples from the natural language understanding modules of MECHO [Bundy et al,1979a], a program which solves mechanics problems stated in English. Several possible representations for partially evaluated noun phrases are proposed and their advantages compared.

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