Plan Recognition and Discourse Analysis: An Integrated Approach for Understanding Dialogues.
ROCHESTER UNIV NY DEPT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
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One promising computational approach to understanding dialogues has involved modeling the goals of the speakers in the domain of discourse. In general, these models work well as long as the topic follows the goal structure closely, but they have difficulty accounting for interrupting subdialogues such as clarifications and corrections. Furthermore, such models are typically unable to use many processing clues provided by the linguistic phenomena of the dialogues. This dissertation presents a computational theory and partial implementation of a discourse level model of dialogue understanding. The theory extends and integrates plan-based and linguistic-based approaches to language processing, arguing that such a synthesis is needed to computationally handle many discourse level phenomena present in naturally occurring dialogues. The simple, fairly syntactic results of discourse analysis for example, explanations of phenomena in terms of very local discourse contexts as well as correlations between syntactic devices and discourse function will be input to the plan recognition system, while the more complex inferential processes relating utterances have been totally reformulated within a plan-based framework.