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The automatic interpretation of natural language (English) database questions formulated by a user untrained in the technical aspects of database querying is an established problem in the field of artificial intelligence. State-of-the-art approaches involve the analysis of queries with syntactic and semantic grammars expressed in phrase structure grammer or transition network formalisms. With such methods difficulties exist with the detection and resolution of ambiguity, with the misinterpretation possibilities inherent with finite length look-ahead, and with the modification and extension of a mechanism for other sources of semantic knowledge. The potential of optimization techniques to solve these problems and interpret natural language database queries is examined.