Open Dialogue Management for Relational Databases

Ben Hixon and Becky Passonneau

We present open dialogue management and its application to relational databases. An open dialogue manager generates dialogue states, actions, and default strategies from the semantics of its application domain. We define three open dialogue management tasks. First, vocabulary selection finds the intelligible attributes in each database table. Second, focus discovery selects candidate dialogue foci, tables that have the most potential to address basic user goals. Third, a focus agent is instantiated for each dialogue focus with a default dialogue strategy governed by efficiency. We demonstrate the portability of open dialogue management on three very different databases. Evaluation of our system with simulated users shows that users with realistically limited domain knowledge have dialogues nearly as efficient as those of users with complete domain knowledge.

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