Instant answers to carbon footprint calculations,
right from the search box!

There is so much data in AMEE that it can be quite hard to find, even when using AMEEdiscover, and we’re always trying to find ways to improve and open out access.

Instead of giving you a list of possible methodologies that might be relevant, Ask AMEE gives you an answer straight away. You can put in queries like “10kg of coal“, and it will go off and see if AMEE has an answer. If it does, it’ll give you it straight away, and give you links to find out more if you want to.

How it works

When you ask a question, the first thing Ask AMEE does is to try to work out what you mean.

1. the string is run through the Quantify gem, made by our very own Andrew Berkeley, which pulls out anything that could correspond to a numerical quantity; things like :”10 kg”, or “20 miles”. Then we run the remainder of the string through term-extract to pull out the nouns.

2. Those nouns are then fed into AMEE’s search API (currently in a pre-release state, but used extensively inside AMEEdiscover). This identifies categories which match the nouns.

3. For each of those categories, we then check to make sure that there are inputs which match the dimensionality of the quantities taken from the query (again, using Quantify). We also search within the category to find the data item that best matches the query nouns if we can.

4. If all the above checks pass, we create a profile item in AMEEconnect using the selected data item and the quantities from the query. If all inputs are satisifed, there will be a sensible result which is displayed on the page. If not, we tell you that more information is needed and give you a link to a calculator in AMEEdiscover.

Obviously there is some guesswork going on in there, and sometimes you will get an answer that doesn’t quite match, but we think this is a pretty good first stab at it.

We need to improve the term extraction, and keep working on the quality of search results, so there is more to come. Stay tuned!


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