Tell-and-Ask Systems

A Tell-and-Ask system is a simple system—you tell it some facts, and then it can answer questions you ask based on what you told it. Consider the following simple example:

Tell: James Dean played in the movie Giant.

Then you could ask questions like:

Ask: Who played in Giant?

Answer: James Dean

Ask: James Dean played in what?

Answer: Giant

You might tell it some more things, too, like:

Tell: James Dean played in East of Eden.

James Dean played in Rebel Without a Cause.

Then if you ask:

Ask: James Dean played in what?

Answer: Giant, East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause.

One could imagine a sophisticated Tell-and-Ask system that understands natural language and can cope with questions like

Ask: What movies did James ...

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