Computer scientists create 'answer engine' website

Computer wizards say they have used cutting-edge technology to create a smart alec website.

The "" site is an internet "answer engine" which breaks new ground by giving direct answers to direct questions, according to creators.

Co-founder William Tunstall-Pedoe, who is based in Cambridge, says the website is a "phone-a-friend" on the internet which can answer "trillions" of questions.

"What's new is that it is a website which answers the question," said Mr Tunstall-Pedoe.

"It doesn't give you references to articles mentioning the words in the question. It gives you the answer. Ask it when Bob Dylan's birthday is and it will simply tell you. And it if doesn't know the answer it will say it doesn't know.

"It doesn't know everything but as we input more information it will know more and more."

He added: "It's cutting-edge use of computers. It uses unique semantic

technology which has been many years in development.

"It understands user questions, represents knowledge in a way that the system can understand and process and can combine existing knowledge to infer new facts and answer questions it has never seen before.

"Powering the platform is also a database of facts: a unified representation of the world's knowledge containing factual, common sense and lexical knowledge.

"We can already answer trillions of questions and as this knowledge base grows, we understand and answer more and more."

Leeds, Sweet street, 28th March 1979'LIGHTING'Mr. Eddie Mullan, a lift engineer at the City of Leeds Public Works Department, Sweet Street, gives a last polish to one of the four old gas lamps that are to be sent to Germany.

Leeds nostalgia: Bits of old Leeds sent to Germany... in 1979