Sixth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Budapest, Hungary
September 5-9, 1999

Form-Based Reasoning for Mixed-Initiative Dialogue Management in Information-Query Systems

Jennifer Chu-Carroll

Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, USA

Previous work on practical dialogue systems focused mainly on developing robust systems that operate in specific domains. However, these systems are often heavily handcrafted and are thus difficult to port to new domains. This paper describes general mixed-initiative dialogue management strategies that are decoupled from domain-dependent task specifications. These strategies are used to select appropriate system actions in response to user utterances, focusing on situations in which user queries are inconsistent, ambiguous, or underspecified. If the dialogue manager fails to resolve the problem using its own knowledge or information from the dialogue history, it adopts one of three query refinement strategies to engage the user in subdialogues to solicit the required information. An evaluation of the dialogue management strategies on a corpus of 263 unseen queries shows that the system is able to correctly answer 90.2\% of the queries after redirecting 3\% of the calls to a human operator.

Full Paper (PDF)

Bibliographic reference.  Chu-Carroll, Jennifer (1999): "Form-based reasoning for mixed-initiative dialogue management in information-query systems", In EUROSPEECH'99, 1519-1522.