Dialogue Processing in Time and Space

David Schlangen - Bielefeld University, Germany

Dialogue Processing in Time and Space

David Schlangen – Bielefeld University

Dialogue settings can be characterised along many dimensions: for example, according to the familiarity between the participants (between strangers, between family), according to the immediacy of the medium of exchange (exchanging letters, or speaking in a free conversation), or according to the immediacy of contact between participant (on the phone, or face to face). Current spoken dialogue systems mostly occupy an odd spot in that multi-dimensional space: Siri, for example, is an “assistant” with very limited familiarity with the person it is assisting; it converses via speech, but with chat-like fixed turn-taking; and it knows where “here” is, but not what else is “here” besides its user. I will talk about work we’ve done in my group on modelling conversational situations that are somewhat closer to natural face-to-face dialogue. I will briefly introduce the “incremental units” model of dialogue processing (Schlangen & Skantze; EACL 2009, Dialogue & Discourse 2011) which we use as the basis for our work on situated dialogue. I will show how we used it to realise fast turn-taking in an implemented dialogue system (Skantze & Schlangen, EACL 2009). I will then discuss our work on statistical incremental language understanding / grounded semantics, which widens the scope to include reference to objects in the physically shared space (Kennington & Schlangen; SIGdial 2012, Computer Speech & Language 2014), non-linguistic information about the speaker such as gaze and gesture (Kennington, Kousidis & Schlangen; SIGdial 2013, Coling 2014), and more recently, real-time computer-vision processing (Kennington & Schlangen, IWCS and ACL 2015).

If you would like to meet with the speaker, please contact Volha Petukhova.





David Schlangen

David Schlangen is Professor of Applied Computational Linguistics at Bielefeld University, Germany. Previously, he was a post-doctoral researcher at Potsdam, Germany and at the University of Edinburgh, from where he also received his PhD.
His main research interest is in the process of creating shared understanding through conversation, and how to simulate it for human/computer interaction. A focus of the work of his group has been on the timing aspects of this process, enabling faster and more fine-grained feedback through incremental processing. More recent work
has looked at information sources besides language, such as eye gaze and gestures, and at grounding language meaning in perceptual information (both with implementations for human/robot interaction).
He is (co-)author of almost 100 peer-reviewed publications (inter alia, at *ACL, SIGdial, Interspeech, Computer Speech and Language). Currently, he serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Dialogue and Discourse”.