MIDAS (Metaphor Interpretation, Denotation and Acquisition System) is a computer program that embodies this approach. MIDAS can be used to perform the following tasks: represent knowledge about conventional metaphors, interpret metaphoric language by applying this knowledge, and dynamically learn new metaphors as they are encountered during normal processing.
Knowledge about conventional metaphors is represented in the form of coherent sets of associations between disparate conceptual domains. The representation captures both the details of individual metaphors, and the systematicities exhibited by the set of metaphors in the language as a whole. These systematic sets of associations were implemented using the KODIAK knowledge representation language.
MIDAS is capable of using this metaphoric knowledge to interpret conventional metaphoric language. The main thrust of this approach is that normal processing of metaphoric language proceeds through the direct application of specific knowledge about the metaphors in the language. This approach gives equal status to all conventional metaphoric and literal interpretations. Moreover, the mechanisms used to arrive at metaphoric and literal interpretations are fundamentally the same.
When a metaphor is encountered for which MIDAS has no applicable knowledge, MIDAS calls upon its learning component - the Metaphor Extension System (MES). The approach embodied in the MES asserts that a novel metaphor can best be understood through the systematic extension of an already well-understood metaphor.
MIDAS has been integrated as a part of the UNIX Consultant system. UC is a natural language consultant system that provides naive computer users with advice on how to use the UNIX operating system. By calling upon MIDAS, UC can successfully interpret and learn conventional UNIX domain metaphors, as they are encountered during the course of UC's normal processing.