[Elsnet-list] AAMAS Workshop: Markup Languages for Embodied Dialogue Acts [second CFP]

d.k.j.Heylen at ewi.utwente.nl d.k.j.Heylen at ewi.utwente.nl
Fri Jan 30 10:37:06 CET 2009


Towards a Standard Markup Language for Embodied Dialogue Acts

Workshop held in conjunction with AAMAS 2009

11 or 12 May 2009


Budapest - Hungary




Dirk Heylen, University of Twente

Catherine Pelachaud, CNRS, TELECOM - ParisTech

Roberta Catizone, University of Sheffield

David R. Traum, University of Southern California


Embodied Conversational Agents, ECAs, are virtual agents endowed with
human-like communicative capabilities. Over the last few years there has
been increasing collaborative effort  across research groups working on
ECAs to define a common framework for ECA systems under the name of
SAIBA. The framework specifies three main processes. The first, called
Intent Planning, deals with the computation of the communicative intents
and the emotional state of the agent. The second, Behavior Planning,
computes how to convey  high-level information through verbal and
nonverbal means. The third and last module, Behavior Realizer,
instantiates the behaviors into acoustic and visual parameters that are
sent, respectively, to a speech synthesizer and an animation
player[drt1]. These three modules exchange data (communicative
intentions between the first and second ones, and behaviors between the
last two). Together with the specification of the three main processes,
SAIBA proposes the use of two mark-up languages to encode the flow of
data. The first language is called Function Markup Language (FML) while
the second one is called Behavior Markup Language (BML). While quite a
lot of work has been done to define BML, FML is still in its infant
stages. A first workshop at AAMAS 2008 gathered researchers for a first
broad discussion about the issues surrounding FML, the state of the art
in existing systems and  brainstorming about the way to go forward.


While the first workshop aimed to define the scope of the information
the language should cover, in this workshop we aim to further elaborate
on one specific aspect of FML. A major concern that appeared in almost
all of the papers presented in the first workshop was that of
conversational acts, also called speech acts or dialogue acts. In this
workshop we will look at the relevance of the taxonomies that have been
proposed in the literature and the way these can be used or should be
adapted and extended for the ECA domain.


Several taxonomies of dialogue act types have been proposed for use in
analyzing human dialogue behavior and as units of interpretation and
production in dialogue systems.  Examples are:  Meta-locutionary acts
(Novick, 1988), Conversation acts (Traum & Allen 1991), The HCRC coding
scheme (Carletta et al 1996), and the Verbmobil coding scheme
(Alexandersson et al 1997). These taxonomies encompass the different
functions of dialogue acts such as information seeking, turn management
and feedback and have been widely used to annotate corpora. Within the
computational linguistics community, a series of meetings of an informal
working group called the Discourse Resource Initiative produced a
unifying scheme known as DAMSL (Allen&Core, 1997), which has been very
influential and adapted for many projects.  See (Traum, 2000) for a
comparison of taxonomies and issues for such taxonomies.  More recent
efforts including European projects such as MATE and LIRICS have
extended this work and produced new schemes such as DIT++ (Bunt et al,
2008). These dialogue act taxonomies can be used to further the
development of FML. As dialogue act specification is a core component of
any specification of communicative intent, perhaps one of these schemes
can be adopted or extended for suitability for ECAs, or can at least
inspire the development of FML. One key difference between the coverage
of most of these schemes and ECAs is that ECAs communicate through
verbal and nonverbal means so many of these schemes will need to be
extended for use in FML. 


With this workshop we aim to raise the following questions:

* what are the strengths and weakness of the dialogue acts standards and
their potential use in FML? 

* in what ways should they be extended?

* in what ways do they miss the mark?

* can they be used for multimodality?

* how can a dialogue act result in the animation of verbal and/or
nonverbal behaviours?

* how can and should synchrony between modalities be tied in the
dialogue act representation?

* what can we learn from the standardisation effort (the way the process
went, the way the standard is being used/adopted/adapted...)?

* how/whether ASR signal/emotion features could/should be represented in
Dialogue Acts?  


The purpose of this full-day workshop is to bring together researchers
and developers of embodied conversational characters together with
dialogue act specialists to exchange ideas and experiences on the
various aspects involved in dialogue act specification for ECAs.


We invite position papers addressing one or more of the following

* legacy: how can multimodal dialog acts be represented 

* desires: how do researchers believe these dialog acts should be
specified in FML

* expertise: contributions of researchers in cognitive


Submissions should be of 8 pages maximum, following AAMAS specified
style. Position papers of 2 pages are also allowed. Submissions should
be sent as pdf-files to the workshop contact: heylen AT ewi.utwente.nl


Important dates:

Submission:  Feb 10, 2009

Notification:  March 1, 2009

Camera ready Copy:  March 15


Program Committee

Harry Bunt, Hannes Vihljalmsson, Stefan Kopp, Isabella Poggi, Bjorn
Ganstrom, Debora Field, Morena Danieli, Peter Wallis, Matthew Stone


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