IDA: An Intelligent Data Access Program


Sagalowicz, D. (1977). IDA: An intelligent data access program. SRI INTERNATIONAL MENLO PARK CA ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER.


IDA was developed at SRI to allow a casual user to retrieve information from a data base, knowing the fields present in the data base, but not the structure of the data base itself. IDA is part of a system that allows the user to express queries in a restricted subset of English, about a data base of fourteen files stored on CCA’s Datacomputer. IDA’s input is a very simple, formal query language which is essentially a list of restrictions on fields and queries about fields, with no mention of the structure of the data base. It produces a series of DBMS queries, which are transmitted over the ARPA network. The results of these queries are combined by IDA to provide the answer to the user’s query. In this paper, we will define the input language, and give examples of IDA’s behavior. We will also present our representation of the “structural schema,’’ which is the information needed by IDA to know how the data base is actually organized. We will give an idea of some of the heuristics which are used to produce a program in the language of the DBMS. Finally, we will discuss the limitations of this approach, as well as future research areas.

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