Special Questions and Techniques
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IBM Journal of Research and Development 56 (3/4): 11:1--11:13 (2012)

Jeopardy! questions represent a wide variety of question types. The vast majority are Standard Jeopardy! Questions, where the question contains one or more assertions about some unnamed entity or concept, and the task is to identify the described entity or concept. This style of question is a representative of a wide range of common question-answering tasks, and the bulk of the IBM Watson system is focused on solving this problem. A small percentage of Jeopardy! questions require a specialized procedure to derive an answer or some derived assertion about the answer. We call any question that requires such a specialized computational procedure, selected on the basis of a unique classification of the question, a Special Jeopardy! Question. Although Special Questions per se are typically less relevant in broader question-answering applications, they are an important class of question to address in the Jeopardy! context. Moreover, the design of our Special Question solving procedures motivated architectural design decisions that are applicable to general open-domain question-answering systems. We explore these rarer classes of questions here and describe and evaluate the techniques that we developed to solve these questions.
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