Workshop Goals / Overview [less]

The design and study of spoken dialog systems is a relatively young research field compared to other speech technologies such as recognition and synthesis. In recent years however, as these core technologies have improved, the field of spoken dialog systems has been generating increased interest both in the research community and in the industry. While most of the early work originated from the artificial intelligence community and addressed high-level issues such as discourse planning, the development and deployment of actual usable systems has led to the emergence of a wide range of new issues such as error handling in dialog, multimodal integration, or rapid system development. At the same time, researchers from a variety of disciplines including speech and language technologies, robotics, and human-computer interaction have started to bring their unique skills and backgrounds to bear on these issues.

Unfortunately, while this richness and variety of interests constitute a definite strength, they can also be a source of isolation and discouragement, particularly for newcomers to the field. Many young researchers in spoken dialog systems work within small research groups and find it difficult to share their ideas with peers having similar or complementary interests. While annual conferences such as SIGdial and INTERSPEECH provide excellent opportunities for young researchers to present their own work and hear about work that is done in similar areas, there have been few opportunities to date for more intensive discussion and thought about interesting and challenging questions in the field today.

We believe that both young researchers and the field itself would benefit greatly from a better communication across institutions and disciplines. By working together, getting peer-level feedback on their research, and engaging in brainstorming sessions, researchers could identify the questions that are most relevant to the overall problem of spoken human-machine communication, and come up with fresh ideas to answer these questions.

With these goals in mind, we started Dialogs on Dialogs, an international student reading group focused on the area of Spoken Dialog Systems/Conversational Agents. The group is based at Carnegie Mellon University and involves participants from other universities through teleconferencing. Our bi-weekly meetings provide a setting in which we can present our own research and obtain feedback from others who are at our level and who are working on similar problems.

The Young Researchers’ Roundtable on Spoken Dialog Systems workshop is intended to extend this initiative to a broader community, promoting the exchange of ideas and the development of a permanent peer-group research support network for our field. The two main objectives of the proposed workshop are to foster creative and actionable thinking about current issues in spoken dialog systems research, and to create a network of young researchers working in spoken dialog systems

Additionally, many researchers at this stage of their careers are involved with job searches. The information and discussion about new technologies and promising spoken dialog strategies expected to result from this workshop should be very useful in job interviews.

The workshop will be held as a day-long event on September the 1st, 2005, at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon, Portugal in conjunction with INTERSPEECH 2005, the 9th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology.


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