Appel: ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop : Error Handling in Spoken Dialogue Systems

Alexis Nasr alexis.nasr at LINGUIST.JUSSIEU.FR
Mon Nov 4 18:05:21 UTC 2002

                ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop
                International Speech Communication

                Error Handling in Spoken Dialogue Systems

                Preliminary Call for Participation

                Location: Hotel Roc et Neige
                Chateau-d'Oex-Vaud, Switzerland

                August 28-31, 2003

                Workshop website:
                Webmaster: Gabriel Skantze
                Email contact: errorworkshop at

Supported by:

        CLIF (Computational Linguistics in Flanders)


Spoken dialogue systems in real applications as well as research have
attracted increased attention in recent years.  With the limitations
of current speech technologies, both for recognition and understanding
and for speech generation, this interest in `real' systems has led to
an increased awareness in the problems raised by system errors,
especially in recognizing user input, and the consequent confusion
they may lead to for both users and the system itself over the
dialogue.  The need to devise better strategies for detecting problems
in human-machine dialogues and then dealing with them gracefully has
become paramount for spoken dialogue systems.

This workshop will consider all aspects of how systems can detect and
recover from problems in spoken dialogue systems.  We will address
questions such as:

What can we learn from errors in human-human and wizard-of-Oz systems
that will help us to handle error in human-machine dialogue systems?

How do systems detect when a dialogue is `going wrong'?  How do they
define such conditions?  What factors are the key contributors to and
indicators of `bad' dialogues?

How do systems identify their own errors?  What are the most important
causes of such errors, from the user side (e.g. non-native accent,
hyperarticulated speaking style, gender, age) and from the system side
(e.g. inappropriate prompts)?  How difficult is it to determine the
causes of particular error?

How can we predict which dialogues will be successful?  How should we
define `success'?  What features can best predict it?

What mechanisms can be devised to allow systems to recover from error
gracefully?  Can we devise adaptive strategies to identify patterns of
error and respond accordingly?

What sorts of behavior do users exhibit when faced with system errors?
Can these be taken into account in error handling?

What measures (better prompts, anticipation of likely error, better
help information) can be taken to minimize possible errors?

Papers are invited on innovations in ways that systems can detect
their own errors (e.g. through features such as ASR confidence
scores); on methods for evaluating spoken dialogue systems that
include system errors and error recovery as a major component; on
strategies for determining on-line when dialogues are `going wrong';
on mechanisms for recovering once errors are detected; on laboratory
and corpus-based studies of human behavior relevant to human-machine
problem detection/recovery; on methods for minimizing dialogue
problems (e.g. by varying dialogue strategy, system prompts).
Position papers are also invited for a special session on aspects of
error handling are most in need of additional attention and to propose
research approaches in such areas.

Invited Speakers:

Herb Clark, Stanford University
Emil Krahmer, Tillburg University
Mike Phillips, Speechworks
Atsushi Shimojim, JAIST

Important Dates:

Submissions due: March 1, 2003.
Notification of Acceptance: April 15, 2003.
Deadline for Early Registration: May 1, 2003
Deadline for Regular Registration: June 1, 2003
Deadline for Final Papers:  June 1, 2003
Workshop: August 28-31, 2003.

Submission requirements:

Abstracts of no more than 800 words in length (please state whether
this is a submission to a regular session or to the special session on
future research) should be submitted electronically by March 1.
Details for submssion will be available at

Workshop Location:

Hotel Roc et Neige
( in the town of
Chateau-d'Oex-Vaud (
in the 'alpes vaudoises' in the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland.

Accommodation and Registration Fees:  TBA


Workshop proceedings will be available upon registration at the
conference center and subsequently on the workshop web site.


The official language of the workshop will be English.


The International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) is a
non-profit organization for promoting Speech Communication Science and
Technology internationally.  For membership and other information,
please contact the ISCA secretariat at:

c/o Institut fuer Communikationsforschung und Phonetik
Universitaet Bonn
Poppelsdorfer Allee 47
D-53115 Bonn, Germany
Tel: (+49) 228-735638
Fax: (+49) 228-735639
Email: info at

This workshop is endorsed by SIGdial ( and CLIF

Organizing Committee:

        Rolf Carlson, KTH
        Julia Hirschberg, Columbia University and
                AT&T Labs -- Research
        Marc Swerts, University of Antwerp and
                Technische Universiteit Eindhoven

International Scientific Committee:

Linda Bell, Telia Research
Lou Boves, Nijmegen University
Susan Brennan, SUNY Stony Brook
Jim Glass, MIT
Yasuhiro Katagiri, ATR
Emiel Krahmer, Tillburg  University
Diane Litman, University of Pittsburgh
Elmar Noeth, Erlangen University
Norbert Reithinger, DFKI
Sophie Rosset, LIMSI
Alex Rudnicky, CMU
Elizabeth Shriberg, SRI
Marilyn Walker, AT&T Labs--Research


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