NatalieDB: Natural Language Interface for Databases

At a glance

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Kurt Stockinger

Project team: Prof. Dr. Abraham Bernstein (University of Zurich), Katrin Affolter

Financing: Hasler Foundation

Project start date: 01-10-2017

Project partner(s): University of Zurich

Short description

Due to the success of relational databases, new trends in big data technologies and Open Data, the query languages SQL and SPARQL are the most-widely used techniques to access databases. Even though SQL and SPARQL are very powerful, significant technical knowledge and training is required. Today, business users and scientists are restricted in their ability to query databases by using preconceived query patterns. As a result, a wide range of users are basically not capable of accessing vast amounts of data effectively.

The goal of this project is to develop a natural language interface for databases, which allows non-technical users to query all the data sets a company or a research institution has collected and curated in a data warehouse or knowledge base. The key idea is to automatically translate a natural language query to the query languages SQL and SPARQL depending on the underlying database. Our system will enable users without prior training to perform powerful queries, thus truly leveraging the data – a crucial differentiator in our data-driven age.