Sixth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Budapest, Hungary
September 5-9, 1999

A Mixed-Initiative Natural Dialogue System for Conference Room Reservation

Claudia Pateras, Nicolas Chapados, Remi Kwan, Dominic Lavoie, Réal Tremblay

Nortel Networks, Nuns’ Island, Quebec, Canada

Telephone based spoken dialogue systems have the potential to automate many routine tasks. Yet, to become widely accepted they must be natural, easy to use, efficient, and robust. We introduce the Conference Room Reservation System (CRRS), a mixed-initiative natural dialogue system used routinely by the employees of our lab. The CRRS allows callers to reserve or cancel rooms by simply stating their constraints in a natural way. The system prompts for missing information and offers alternative solutions if the original constraints cannot be satisfied. Our system uses Nortel Networks’ OpenSpeech continuous speech recognizer with barge-in, a robust natural language parser, and a mixed-initiative discourse manager. We describe the overall system with an emphasis on the discourse manager. We present an analysis of real data collected over several months. We then discuss the issue of defining dialogue performance metrics that are independent of the room occupancy rate.

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Bibliographic reference.  Pateras, Claudia / Chapados, Nicolas / Kwan, Remi / Lavoie, Dominic / Tremblay, Réal (1999): "A mixed-initiative natural dialogue system for conference room reservation", In EUROSPEECH'99, 1275-1278.