Sixth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Budapest, Hungary
September 5-9, 1999

A Pervasive Conversational Interface for Information Interaction

Ganesh Ramaswamy, Jan Kleindienst, Daniel Coffman, Ponani Gopalakrishnan, Chalapathy Neti

IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

In this paper, we describe a new pervasive conversational sys-tem that provides access to multiple desktop applications, from multiple client devices, using multiple input modalities. Client devices currently supported include desktop and telephone, and the applications incorporated include email, calendarand address book. When the access is from a desktop, both conversational natural language and graphical inputs are supported. The paper describes the overall architecture to support such a pervasive conversational system, along with innovations in con-tinuous speech recognition, statistical natural language under-standing, and dialog management that were developed to build the system. The paper also describes the partially unsupervised Wizard-of-Oz style setup to collect real-use data, and the performance of the statistical models constructed using this data for speech recognition and natural language understanding.

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Bibliographic reference.  Ramaswamy, Ganesh / Kleindienst, Jan / Coffman, Daniel / Gopalakrishnan, Ponani / Neti, Chalapathy (1999): "A pervasive conversational interface for information interaction", In EUROSPEECH'99, 2663-2666.