Dialogues with Social Robots

Volume 427 of the series Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering pp 93-107


Separating Representation, Reasoning, and Implementation for Interaction Management: Lessons from Automated Planning

  • Mary Ellen FosterAffiliated withSchool of Computing Science, University of Glasgow Email author 
  • , Ronald P. A. PetrickAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University

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Numerous toolkits are available for developing speech-based dialogue systems. We survey a range of currently available toolkits, highlighting the different facilities provided by each. Most of these toolkits include not only a method for representing states and actions, but also a mechanism for reasoning about and selecting the actions, often combined with a technical framework designed to simplify the task of creating end-to-end systems. This near-universal tight coupling of representation, reasoning, and implementation in a single toolkit makes it difficult both to compare different approaches to dialogue system design, as well as to analyse the properties of individual techniques. We contrast this situation with the state of the art in a related research area—automated planning—where a set of common representations have been defined and are widely used to enable direct comparison of different reasoning approaches. We argue that adopting a similar separation would greatly benefit the dialogue research community.


Interaction management Automated planning Representation and reasoning Systems integration