Explaining missing query results in natural language

Daniel Deutch, Nave Frost, Amir Gilad, Tomer Haimovich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We propose in this paper a novel approach for explaining query non-answers in Natural Language within the context of Natural Language Interfaces to Databases (NLIDBs). Such interfaces allow non-expert users to pose queries over an underlying database; our goal is to further allow users to ask why some results that they have expected to see, are missing from the output. In a nutshell, our approach is to “marry" NLIDBs with an existing model for explaining missing query results by pinpointing the last query operator that is “responsible" for the missing result. We observe that one can often trace the parts of the original NL question that correspond to these operators. This paves the way for intuitive explanations of the non-answers, that are based on highlighting the relevant parts of the question. Our architecture is generic and is not coupled with a specific NLIDB, and our solution yields clear explanations in interactive speed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Database Technology - EDBT 2020
Subtitle of host publication23rd International Conference on Extending Database Technology, Proceedings
EditorsAngela Bonifati, Yongluan Zhou, Marcos Antonio Vaz Salles, Alexander Bohm, Dan Olteanu, George Fletcher, Arijit Khan, Bin Yang
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9783893180837
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event23rd International Conference on Extending Database Technology, EDBT 2020 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 30 Mar 20202 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Database Technology - EDBT
ISSN (Electronic)2367-2005


Conference23rd International Conference on Extending Database Technology, EDBT 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications

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