A Universal Question-Answering Platform for Knowledge Graphs

Reham Omar, Ishika Dhall, Panos Kalnis, Essam Mansour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knowledge from diverse application domains is organized as knowledge graphs (KGs) that are stored in RDF engines accessible in the web via SPARQL endpoints. Expressing a well-formed SPARQL query requires information about the graph structure and the exact URIs of its components, which is impractical for the average user. Question answering (QA) systems assist by translating natural language questions to SPARQL. Existing QA systems are typically based on application-specific human-curated rules, or require prior information, expensive pre-processing and model adaptation for each targeted KG. Therefore, they are hard to generalize to a broad set of applications and KGs. In this paper, we propose KGQAn, a universal QA system that does not need to be tailored to each target KG. Instead of curated rules, KGQAn introduces a novel formalization of question understanding as a text generation problem to convert a question into an intermediate abstract representation via a neural sequence-to-sequence model. We also develop a just-in-time linker that maps at query time the abstract representation to a SPARQL query for a specific KG, using only the publicly accessible APIs and the existing indices of the RDF store, without requiring any pre-processing. Our experiments with several real KGs demonstrate that KGQAn is easily deployed and outperforms by a large margin the state-of-the-art in terms of quality of answers and processing time, especially for arbitrary KGs, unseen during the training.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Management of Data
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 30 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-09-11
Acknowledgements: We thank the authors of EDGQA, gAnswer, and Falcon for their assistance to reproduce their results.


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