Establishing Context in Task-Oriented Dialogs
Stanford Research Institute Menlo Park United States
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The paper describes part of the discourse component of a speech understanding system for task-oriented dialogs, specifically, a mechanism for establishing a focus of attention to aid in identifying the referents of definite noun phrases. In building a representation of the dialog context, the discourse processor takes advantage of the fact that task-oriented dialogs have a structure that closely parallels the structure of the task. The semantic network of the system is partitioned into focus spaces with each focus space containing only those concepts pertinent to the dialog relating to a subtask. The focus spaces are linked to their corresponding subtasks and ordered in a hierarchy determined by the relations among subtasks.