Development of Q&A Systems Using AcQA

Authors Renato Preigschadt de Azevedo , Maria João Varanda Pereira , Pedro Rangel Henriques

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Author Details

Renato Preigschadt de Azevedo
  • Centro Algoritmi (CAlg-CTC), Department of Informatics, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
Maria João Varanda Pereira
  • Research Centre in Digitalization and Intelligent Robotics (CeDRI), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Portugal
Pedro Rangel Henriques
  • Centro Algoritmi (CAlg-CTC), Department of Informatics, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

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Renato Preigschadt de Azevedo, Maria João Varanda Pereira, and Pedro Rangel Henriques. Development of Q&A Systems Using AcQA. In 9th Symposium on Languages, Applications and Technologies (SLATE 2020). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 83, pp. 8:1-8:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


In order to help the user to search for relevant information, Question and Answering (Q&A) Systems provide the possibility to formulate the question freely in a natural language, retrieving the most appropriate and concise answers. These systems interpret the user question to understand his information needs and return him the more adequate replies in a semantic sense; they do not perform a statistical word search like happens in the existing search engines. There are several approaches to developing and deploying Q&A Systems, making it hard to choose the best way to build the system. To turn easier this process, we are proposing a way to automatically create Q&A Systems (AcQA) based on DSLs, thus allowing the setup and the validation of the Q&A System independent of the implementation techniques. With our proposal (AcQA language), we want the developers to focus on the data and contents, instead of implementation details. We conducted an experiment to assess the feasibility of using AcQA. The study was carried out with people from the computer science field and shows that our language simplifies the development of a Q&A System.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Software and its engineering → Source code generation
  • Software and its engineering → Domain specific languages
  • Software and its engineering → Design languages
  • Question & Answering
  • DSL
  • Natural Language Processing


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