The calendar window shows the dark bar of the past sweeping, one pixel each half hour of the day and night, across a horizontal line [not visible in this Postscript image] summarising by its width and height the user's working hours and appointments, tentative and firm. The marginal time tags can be dragged up and down, and it will eventually be possible to type over the top of them to jump to a given time. The datebook window presents an expanded view of time as an infinite tape from which appointment forms can be popped up by pointing or by sweeping out free areas. Most importantly, when arrangements involve several people the system communicates with its peers and with meeting participants by reading and writing email in German; the displays are updated in real time.
The fields of the appointment form are semi-structured: they can be filled in with the help of menus - such as that visible on the lower window - that drop down from the small icons on the right; numeric, date and time values within them can be incremented and decremented directly with mouse buttons; and experienced users can type structured values straight in. Unconstrained German text (the graphic interface will soon be English/French/German trilingual, but the natural language parser and generator speak only German) can also be entered. It is routed to the natural language system for analysis; planned improvements to the pragmatics module will allow you to give up on the structured form completely and type informal questions and instructions into the notes field, as you might for a human secretary who had stepped out of the room.
The work underlying this picture was supported by a research grant, FKZ ITW 9002 0, from the German Bundesministerium fuer Forschung und Technologie to the DFKI project DISCO.
Elizabeth A. Hinkelman and Stephen P. Spackman, ``Abductive Speech Act Recognition, Corporate Agents and the COSMA System,'' in Abduction, Beliefs and Context: Proceedings of the second ESPRIT PLUS workshop in computational pragmatics. W. J. Black and G. Sabah and T. J. Wachtel, eds. Academic Press, 1992.