Date of Award

6-2009

Degree Name

MS in Computer Science

Department

Computer Science

Advisor

Franz J. Kurfess

Abstract

Causality is an expression of the interactions between variables in a system. Humans often explicitly express causal relations through natural language, so extracting these relations can provide insight into how a system functions. This thesis presents a system that uses a grammar parser to extract causes and effects from unstructured text through a simple, pre-defined grammar pattern. By filtering out non-causal sentences before the extraction process begins, the presented methodology is able to achieve a precision of 85.91% and a recall of 73.99%. The polarity of the extracted relations is then classified using a Fisher classifier. The result is a set of directed relations of causes and effects, with polarity as either increasing or decreasing. These relations can then be used to create networks of causes and effects. This “Causal-Association Network” (CAN) can be used to aid decision-making in complex domains such as economics or medicine, that rely upon dynamic interactions between many variables.