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This is a modified version of the Internet RFC suitable for machine-translating. Original version is available here: RFC420




Network Working Group                                          H. Murray
Request for Comments: 420                Computer Corporation of America
NIC 12764                                                04 January 1973


                         CCA ICCC WEATHER DEMO

THE WEATHER DEMO ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED FOR THE ICCC SHOW IS NOW GENERALLY AVAILABLE. IT IS A VERY NICE NETWORK DEMO SINCE IT REALLY CAN/DOES RUN ON TWO MACHINES.

THIS DEMO IS TWO INDEPENDENT PROGRAMS. TOGETHER THEY TRY TO ANSWER ENGLISH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WEATHER. FOR EXAMPLE, 'DID IT RAIN IN BOSTON ON OCTOBER 7?'. THE NATURAL LANGUAGE PROGRAM IS WRITTEN IN LISP. IT IS A MODIFICATION OF A SYSTEM DEVELOPED BY T. WINOGRAD AT MIT. THE OTHER HALF IS A PRIMITIVE DATACOMPUTER. THE DATACOMPUTER PROVIDES NETWORK DATAMANAGEMENT FACILITIES AND WILL INCORPORATE THE TRILLION-BIT UNICON CURRENTLY BEING INSTALLED AT AMES.

THE TWO PROGRAMS COMMUNICATE VIA DATALANGUAGE USING THE NET.

'WEATHER' NOW USES HOST '37' AS THE LOCATION OF THE DATACOMPUTER. THIS FIXES THE OLD 'CCA' NOT IN THE HOST TABLES BUG.

KEEP IN MIND THAT IS AN EVOLVING SYSTEM, WE PLAN TO IMPROVE 'WEATHER' AND THE DATACOMPUTER THAT IT USES, SO THINGS THAT WORK ONE DAY MAY GET BROKEN THE NEXT.

AVAILABILITY

'WEATHER' (THE LISP HALF) IS A REAL MACHINE USER - BOTH CPU AND CORE. WE WOULD OBVIOUSLY PREFER THAT YOU RUN IT ON YOUR MACHINE. IF WE ARE REALLY EMPTY (WHICH FREQUENTLY HAPPENS AT 3 AM) FEEL FREE TO RUN IT ON OUR MACHINE. SINCE OUR SYSTEM HAS NO DRUM, AND WEATHER TAKES ALL OF CORE, PLEASE CHECK WITH SOMEBODY AT CCA BEFORE RUNNING WEATHER IF WE ARE DOING ANYTHING AT ALL. IT IS REALLY A MAJOR LOAD ON OUR MACHINE.

SINCE THE DATACOMPUTER IS LESS OF A LOAD, THE SYSTEM WILL BE MORE AVAILABLE IF YOU CAN RUN 'WEATHER' ON YOUR MACHINE. WE WILL TRY TO RUN THE DATACOMPUTER DURING NON-PRIME TIME. IT CAN BE THOUGHT OF AS THE SERVER HALF OF THIS COMBINATION. PRIME TIME HERE IS 1 TO 5 PM EASTERN TIME, BUT THE MORNING IS FREQUENTLY QUITE BUSY TOO. PLEASE DO NOT USE THE DATACOMPUTER DURING THIS TIME. IT WILL SAVE US THE EFFORT OF TURNING IT OFF. CURRENTLY, ONLY ONE USER AT A TIME CAN RUN - A LIMITATION OF THE DATACOMPUTER THAT WILL GO AWAY SOMEDAY. IF YOU WANT TO RUN A DEMO (NOT JUST PLAY AROUND) WE WILL PROBABLY BE ABLE TO COOPERATE. PLEASE CALL TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WELL IN ADVANCE. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT TRY TO GIVE AN IMPORTANT DEMO UNLESS YOU HAVE USED BOTH VERSIONS OF THE SYSTEMS THAT WILL BE USED FOR THE DEMO. EVEN WE GET IN TROUBLE WHEN WE FORGET TO REHEARSE THINGS A BIT.

Murray [Page 1]


RFC 420                  CCA ICCC Weather Demo              January 1973

WEDNESDAY MORNING IS SCHEDULED PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE TIME. OUR MACHINE WILL NOT BE UP BETWWEN 9 AND 12, BUT IT FREQUENTLY IS DOWN PAST NOON.

MORE INFORMATION

FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION, LOOK AT *.TXT IN <WDB-DEMO> AT CCA. IN PARTICULAR, MESSAGE.TXT SHOULD BE A QUICK SUMMARY OF ANY OTHER INTERESTING TXT FILES. THE LATEST VERSION OF THIS FILE (IN RUNOFF FORMAT) IS <HGM-MEMOS>ANNOUNCE.RNO.

THE LATEST VERSION OF THE LISP PROGRAM WILL BE IN <WDB-DEMO> AS WEATHER.SAV. NORMAL FTP CAN BE USED TO COPY IT - IT IS 400+ PAGES. IT TAKES 6 MIN TO TRANSFER IT TO OURSELVES (1.5 MIN OF CPU, 22KBAUD) WHEN THE MACHINE IS VERY LIGHLY LOADED. BE SURE TO SET THE BYTE SIZE TO 36 ('TENEX' COMMAND TO FTP) SINCE THIS IS A SAVE FILE.

PROBLEMS

IF YOU FIND ANY PROBLEMS WITH LISP HALF, PLEASE USE SNDMSG TO SEND THINGS TO JEFF HILL - HE IS JMH@CCA. WE ARE INTERESTED IN EXAMPLES WHICH LOOK LIKE THEY SHOULD WORK BUT DON'T. IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ABOUT GENERAL OPERATIONS GLITCHES - LIKE THE DATACOMPUTER IS NOT UP - BITCH TO ME - HGM@CCA. CCA IS HOST 31 DECIMAL, 37 OCTAL.

USING THE SYSTEM

AFTER STARTING WEATHER, THE SYSTEM WILL INITIALIZE ITSELF, TYPE OUT SOME MESSAGES, AND ASK FOR THE JULIAN DATE (REALLY THE DAY NUMBER OF THE YEAR OF 'TODAY'). 300 IS THE BEST ANSWER. THAT MAKES 'TODAY' BE OCT 26, THE LAST DAY OF THE ICCC DEMO, AND ONE DAY PAST THE LATEST DATA. IF YOU TYPE SOME OTHER NUMBER, 'YESTERDAY', AND 'LAST WEEK' WON'T WORK AS WELL. THE SYSTEM PROMPTS WITH 'READY' WHEN IT IS READY TO ACCEPT A SENTENCE. BE SURE TO END THE SENTENCE WITH THE PROPER PUNCTUATION. SENTENCES MAY BE EDITED WITH:

^A (CONTROL A) -- DELETES LAST CHARACTER OR WORD TYPED

^R (CONTROL R) -- RETYPES SENTENCE SO FAR

^Q (CONTROL Q) -- DELETES ENTIRE SENTENCE ^X (CONTROL X) -- SAME AS CONTROL Q

Murray [Page 2]


RFC 420                  CCA ICCC Weather Demo              January 1973

IN ADDITION, TWO CONTROL CHARACTERS CAN BE USED DURING THE PROCESSING OF SENTENCES, ^E (CONTROL E) ABORTS THE PROCESSING OF THE SENTENCE AND RETURNS TO THE READY STATE. ^D (CONTROL D) ABORTS THE WHOLE SYSTEM, AND CAUSES IT TO RE-INITIALIZE ITSELF.

DURING SENTENCE INPUT, THE SYSTEM ATTEMPTS TO LOOK UP EACH WORD AS IT IS TYPED, AND DO SPELLING CORRECTION. HOWEVER, SINCE THE NAMES OF ALL THE CITIES ARE KEPT AT THE DATACOMPUTER, THE SYSTEM ACCEPTS ALL UNKNOWN WORDS AS POSSIBLE PLACE NAMES TO BE CHECKED LATER ON IN THE PROCESSING. IF THE SPELLING CORRECTOR CORRECTS ONE OF YOUR CITY NAMES TO A VOCABULARY WORD, YOU CAN ERASE THE WORD AND RETYPE IT PRECEEDED BY AN EQUAL SIGN (=). THIS FORCES THE SYSTEM TO ACCEPT THE WORD AS A PROPER NOUN.

THE SYSTEM RETURNS TO THE READY STATE AFTER ANSWERING THE QUESTION. TO TERMINATE A SESSION YOU MAY TYPE 'GOODBYE.', WHICH WILL LEAVE YOU BACK AT THE TENEX COMMAND LEVEL.

IF THE SYSTEM CANNOT UNDERSTAND YOUR REQUEST, IT TRIES TO GIVE YOU SOME EXPLANATORY MESSAGE. HOWEVER, IT'S NOT VERY GOOD AT EXPLAINING ITS BEHAVIOR SO YOU WILL USUALLY GET THE DEFAULT MESSAGE 'SORRY, I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND THAT REQUEST.' IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHY, SEND US A TRANSCRIPTIPT OF YOUR SESSION.

RESTRICTIONS - HINTS

THE SYSTEM IS NOT LINGUISTICALLY SOPHISTICATED. IT PERFORMS PASSABLY ON SENTENCES WHICH WOULD BE CONSIDERED SIMPLE REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION. IT DOES NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND THE 'WEATHER', RATHER IT UNDERSTANDS HOW TO COMPOSE RETRIEVAL REQUESTS FOR WEATHER DATA IN ITS DATA BASE.

A LARGE SET OF EXAMPLE SENTENCES CAN BE FOUND IN <WDB- DEMO>SENTENCES.TXT. THOSE SENTENCES PRECEDE BY A BACKSLASH (\) DO NOT WORK. AN EXPLANATORY COMMENT, PRECEEDED BY A SEMI-COLON (;), EXPLAINS THE REASONS FOR FAILURE. SOME OF THE OTHERS MAY NOT WORK EITHER.

THE MAJOR THINGS THAT WE KNOW DON'T WORK ARE:

1. CONJUNCTION

2. NEGATION

3. COMPLEX QUANTIFICATION 4. SOPHISTICATED PRONOUN REFERENCE

Murray [Page 3]


RFC 420                  CCA ICCC Weather Demo              January 1973

5. QUESTIONS NOT (!!) INVOLVING WEATHER,E.G.,

'WHAT DAY WAS YESTERDAY?'

'WHAT CITIES ARE IN MASSACHUSETTS?'

'IT' IS NOT WORKING TOO WELL THESE DAYS. IF YOU GET IN TROUBLE, TRY SOMETHING WITHOU 'IT' THAT IS KNOWN TO WORK. 'WHAT WAS THE TEMPERATURE IN BOSTON YESTERDAY?' IS BETTER THAN MOST - WE ARE QUITE APT TO TEST THAT PHRASE.

THE SYSTEM DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT THE WORD 'SNOW'. THERE IS NO WAY TO LIST ITS VOCABULARY. HOWEVER, THE SENTENCES IN SENTENCES.TXT SHOULD GIVE YOU A GOOD IDEA OF THE WORDS THE SYSTEM UNDESTANDS.

THE AVERAGE TIME FOR UNDERSTANDING AND ANSWERING A QUESTION IS ABOUT 1 MINUTE. IF THE SYSTEM TAKES MUCH LONGER THAN THIS YOU SHOULD GET SUSPICIOUS. IF YOU ASK A VERY BIG QUESTION, LIKE 'WHAT WAS THE HOTTEST PLACE IN CANADA?', THE LISP SYSTEM MAY GO INTO A GC (GARBAGE COLLENTION) LOOP. RESTARTING ALL OVER (WITH ^D) WILL BE OK, BUT THE DATACOMPUTER MAY TAKE A LONG TIME TO RECOVER - IT DOESN'T (YET) NOTICE THAT ANYTHING HAS GONE WRONG UNTIL IT ASKS FOR MORE INPUT.

DATA

THE DATA FROM OCT 1 THRU 16 IS ALMOST COMPLETE. BETWEEN OCT 17 TO 25 IT IS FREQUENTLY SKETCHY. WE PLAN TO RELOAD EVERYTHING SOMETIME USING SEPTEMBER'S DATA, SO WE WILL HAVE A COMPLETE MONTH OF CLEAN DATA. NOTE: THIS DATA HAS BEEN EXTENSIVELY SUMMARIZED - IT IS PROBABLY NOT USEFUL FOR PEOPLE INTERESTED IN WEATHER.

THE OCTOBER DATA IS ABOUT 2400 PAGES OF REAL DATA, PLUS ABOUT 200 MORE FOR THE INVERSION. THERE ARE ABOUT 4000 CITIES. THE CITY NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO THE LOCAL CITY WHENEVER POSSIBLE. I.E. 'BOSTON' IS 'BOSTON' NOT 'LOGAN'.

'ALASKA' GOT LOST SOMEHOW. DON'T BOTHER ASKING FOR IT.

SAMPLE DATALANGUAGE

THESE EXAMPLES ON THIS AND THE FOLLOWING PAGES WORK ON A VERY OLD VERSION OF THE DATACOMPUTER. THEY ARE NOT THE FINAL FORM OF DATALANGUAGE THAT SHOULD BA AVAILABLE SOON. THE FOLLOWING QUESTION TO 'WEATHER' GENERATED TWO REQUESTS TO THE DATACOMPUTER. THE FIRST USES THE CHECK PORT TO VERIFY THAT 'BOSTON' IS A VALID CITY NAME, AND THE SECOND USES THE ANSWER PORT TO RETRIEVE THE DATA. THE ACTUAL REQUESTS THAT ARE SENT TO THE DATACOMPUTER DO NOT HAVE THE CARRIAGE RETURNS THAT MAKE THEM READABLE - THEY ARE SENT AS ONE VERY LONG LINE. THE '^Z' IS THE END OF DATA MARKER.

Murray [Page 4]


RFC 420                  CCA ICCC Weather Demo              January 1973

TO WEATHER

HAS IT RAINED IN BOSTON RECENTLY?

TO THE DATACOMPUTER:

OR CHECK.PLACE,STATION WITH CITY EQ 'BOSTON' PLACE.LP1 = '(' PLACE.CITY = STATION,CITY PLACE.RP1 = ')' PLACE.BSN = STATION.BSN PLACE.LP2 = '(' PLACE.REGION = STATION.REGION PLACE.RP2 = ')' END

FROM THE DATACOMPUTER:

(BOSTON )725090(MASSACHUSETTS ) ^Z

TO THE DATACOMPUTER:

FOR THE STATION WITH (REGION EQ 'MASSACHUSETTS' AND CITY EQ 'BOSTON')
FOR ANSWER.ANS OBSERVATION WITH GE '273' AND DATE LE '300'
ANS.LP1 = '(' ANS.CITY = STATION.CITY ANS.RP1 =')' ANS.DATE = OBSERVATION.DATE ANS.LP2 = ')' ANS.DATA = PRECIP ANS.DATA1 = ' ' ANS.DATA2 = ' ' ANS.RP2 = ')'
END
END AND BACK FROM THE DATACOMPUTER:

Murray [Page 5]


RFC 420                  CCA ICCC Weather Demo              January 1973

   (BOSTON            )293(          )
   (BOSTON            )294(    0     )
   (BOSTON            )295(          )
   (BOSTON            )296(   10     )
(BOSTON )297( 0 ) (BOSTON )298( 0 )
   (BOSTON            )299(    0     )
   (BOSTON            )300(          )
   ^Z

AND THE FINAL ANSWER FROM WEATHER WAS 'YES.'

DESCRIPTIONS

THE FOLLOWING IS THE DESCRIPTION OF THE FILE AS IT IS STORED IN THE DATACOMPUTER.

CREATE WEATHER FILE LIST
STATION STRUCT
BSN STR(6), I=D CITY STR(22), I=D REGION STR(22), I=D WORLD STR(22) OBS LIST (31)
OBSERVATION STRUCT
DATE STR(3) TEMPERATURE STRUCT MIN STR(4) MAX STR(4) END TEMPERATURE STRUCT PRECIP STR(4) WINDS STRUCT SPEED STR(4) GUSTS STR(4) DIRECTION STR(4) END WINDS STRUCT VISIBILITY STR(4) CLOUDS STR(4) GENERAL STR(4) PRESSURE END OBSERVATION STRUCT
END STATION STRUCT
END WEATHER FILE THE FOLLOWING PORT DESCRIPTIONS ARE USED BY WEATHER TO RETRIVE DATA FROM THE DATACOMPUTER.

Murray [Page 6]


RFC 420                  CCA ICCC Weather Demo              January 1973

CREATE CHECK PORT LIST PLACE STRUCT LP1 STR (1) CITY STR (22) RP1 STR (1) BSN STR (6) LP2 STR (1) REGION STR (22) RP2 STR (1) END PLACE STRUCT END CREATE CHECK

CREATE ANSWER PORT LIST ANS STRUCT LP1 STR (1) CITY STR (22) RP1 STR (1) DATE STR (3) LP2 STR (1) DATA STR (4) DATA1 STR (4) DATA2 STR (4) RP2 STR (1) END ANS STRUCT
END CREATE ANSWER

Murray [Page 7]


RFC 420                  CCA ICCC Weather Demo              January 1973
SAMPLE RECORD

THE FOLLOWING DATA IS SAMPLE RECORD - THE FIRST ONE IN THE FILE. IN THE DATACOMPUTER IT IS STORED WITHOUT THE CARRIAGE RETURNS NEEDED TO MAKE IT PRINT NEATLY.

010100ANDOYA NORWAY EUROPE 275 276 278 279 0 2 0 12 9 758883023 277 279 283 4 23 52 11 8 788882982 278 279 274 281 0 23 42 12 9 788882976 280 268 270 4 14 0 9 19 627772983 281 276 283 0 28 69 7 9 688882986 282 269 273 4 10 0 9 22 727772975 283 278 284 0 13 37 9 7 766882972 284 0 28 0 5 1 80006 0 285 276 280 0 9 0 3 12 666682936 286 273 275 0 15 0 3 7 877782960 287 278 282 0 13 28 11 14 626662981 288 269 271 28 30 0 6 7 888882908 289 275 281 0 21 45 7 9 688882976 290 268 269 0 20 0 8 22 622782960 291 283 283 0 11 0 7 47 100013002 292 274 274 0 11 0 1 47 500012996 293 294 272 272 0 5 0 7 47 400012949 295 296 297 273 273 0 0 0 1 6 80007 0 298 273 273 0 0 0 1 2 80007 0 299 275 275 0 6 0 7 31 30000 0 300 301 302 303 304 305


[This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry]
[into the online RFC archives by Helene Morin, Via Genie, 12/99]









Murray [Page 8]


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