Answer Server uses IDOL technology to provide specific and concise answers to user questions.

In a traditional IDOL Server system, the user provides some search terms, or uses special search syntax, and the server returns a list of related documents. In Answer Server, the user specifies a question, and the server returns as specific an answer as possible.

The Answer Server has four types of system to answer different question types.

You can configure as many different versions of each system as you need. When you send a question to Answer Server, you can specify which of the configured systems you want to retrieve answers from.

The following sections describe the setup for these systems in more detail.

Answer Server System Architecture

The following diagram shows the different components of the Answer Server system.

Answer Bank

The answer bank system uses a dedicated IDOL Agentstore component.

The Agentstore is a specially configured IDOL Content component that stores the set of questions and their answers. You can also create question equivalence classes, which store a set of equivalent questions that map to the same answer.

Fact Bank

The fact bank system consists of three pieces:

The fact bank system also includes additional Eduction grammars for advanced time normalization. Advanced time normalization extracts dates and times in various formats from questions and normalize them to a consistent format, to improve fact retrieval.

Passage Extractor

The passage extractor system consists of two components:

The passage extractor also requires:


The conversation system does not have any required subcomponents. You configure conversation tasks by using a JSON configuration file, which describes the task, including:

You can set your conversation triggers by using fixed phrases, regular expressions, or IDOL agents. If you want to use IDOL agents as triggers, you must configure an IDOL Agentstore component.