The XTRA access system is aimed at making the interaction with expert systems much easier for inexperienced users. It communicates with the user in a natural language (German) extracting data relevant to the expert system from the natural language input. It answers users' queries concerning the terminology used and provides what the developers describe as “User‐accommodated natural‐language verbalisations of results and explanations provided by the expert system”. This development is described by J. Allgayer, K. Harbusch, A. Kobsa, C. Reddig, N. Reithinger and D. Schmauks in the International Journal of Man‐Machine Studies, Vol. 31, Part 2, August 1989, pp. 161–95. The developers of this system have introduced a number of novel artificial intelligence techniques. These have included the combination of natural language user input and user gestures on the terminal screen. Four different knowledge sources aid referent identification and simultaneous communication of the access system with the user and the expert system have been incorporated.
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