8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Jeju Island, Korea
October 4-8, 2004

Florence: A Dialogue Manager Framework for Spoken Dialogue Systems

Giuseppe Di Fabbrizio, Charles Lewis

AT&T Labs - Research, USA

Recent advances in speech and language technology have made spoken dialogue systems mainstream in many industries. They allow customers to engage in natural speech interactions with machines instead of being compelled to navigate menus of options with touch tones inputs. VoiceXML was a major milestone for the process of using automated speech applications to expose business portals to ubiquitous telephone access. By the introduction of a uniform and universally accepted client-server browser model, the VoiceXML programming model greatly simplified previously dominant proprietary computer telephony interfaces. However, natural language spoken dialogue systems entail more complex interactions with the user which, depending upon the application domain, may require computational models that are difficult to express directly in VoiceXML. This paper describes Florence, a dialogue manager with a more general approach that uses an extensible and flexible framework to combine interchangeable and interoperable dialogue strategies as appropriate to the task. Florence's declarative XMLbased language facilitates the development of natural language applications and allows the dialogue author to encapsulate and reuse different algorithms between applications. Moreover, it addresses large-scale natural language issues related to enterprise backend access, logging, distributed deployment, and fail-over support. These issues must be addressed in a modern, industrial-strength application server environment.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fabbrizio, Giuseppe Di / Lewis, Charles (2004): "Florence: a dialogue manager framework for spoken dialogue systems", In INTERSPEECH-2004, 3065-3068.