The Semantic Web (SW) offers an opportunity to develop novel, sophisticated forms of question answering (QA). Specifically, the availability of distributed semantic markup on a large scale opens the way to QA systems which can make use of such semantic information to provide precise, formally derived answers to questions. At the same time the distributed, heterogeneous, large-scale nature of the semantic information introduces significant challenges. In this paper we describe the design of a QA system, PowerAqua, designed to exploit semantic markup on the web to provide answers to questions posed in natural language. PowerAqua does not assume that the user has any prior information about the semantic resources. The system takes as input a natural language query, translates it into a set of logical queries, which are then answered by consulting and aggregating information derived from multiple heterogeneous semantic sources
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