LINGUIST List 5.937

Wed 31 Aug 1994


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  1. walker, Empirical Methods in Discourse: Call for Participation

Message 1: Empirical Methods in Discourse: Call for Participation

Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 15:53:08 -0Empirical Methods in Discourse: Call for Participation
From: walker <>
Subject: Empirical Methods in Discourse: Call for Participation

 Call for Participation

 AAAI 1995 Spring Symposium Series
 March 27 - 29, 1995
 Stanford University, California

Computational theories of communicative action (discourse
interpretation and generation) provide the basis for the design of
many types of AI systems (e.g., intelligent tutors, believable agents,
intelligent spoken language systems, intelligent software agents
(softbots), etc.) Developing the robust, broad coverage, theories of
discourse that are needed in today's systems requires an empirical
basis. However, there are no shared methods, tools or resources for
the discourse community. To date, much work in computational theories
of discourse has focused on specifying the mechanisms underlying a
particular discourse phenomenon. It is often difficult to tell how
prevalent that phenomenon is, whether it is related to other observed
and studied phenomena, and what percentage of the cases a particular
theory covers.

This symposium has two foci: (1) an investigation of the empirical
methods that can be used in the development and evaluation of
computational theories of discourse, (2) the development of a set of
shared resources for the computational discourse community. We
solicit papers that focus on empirical methods and their benefits,
e.g., by presenting an empirical method and a result derived using
that method, including but not limited to the following topics:

 o Corpus-Based methods as applied to theories of discourse.

 o Methods for evaluating dialogue or discourse modules in implemented

 o Simulation tools or testbeds used in developing and evaluating
 theories of discourse.

 o Coding schemes developed and tested for the quantitative study of
 some discourse phenomenon, particularly papers that show that
 multiple judges can use the coding scheme with replicable results.

 o Tools that support (semi-)automatic or empirical studies of
 discourse phenomena.

 o Papers that apply or extend methods used in traditionally empirical
 disciplines (e.g., psychology or sociolinguistics) to computational
 theories of discourse.

 o Empirical analyses using any method that distinguishes between
 claims made by different computational discourse theories.

Interested participants should submit 6 copies of either (1) a paper
(in 12 pt font, not to exceed 3000 words) addressing one of the above
points, or (2) a statement of interest briefly describing the author's
relevant work in this area and listing recent relevant publications.

Send contributions--plain ascii or postscript--by October 28, 1994 to

If electronic submission is impossible, please send six copies to
Dr. Marilyn Walker,
Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories,
201 Broadway,
Cambridge, MA 02139
(phone: 617-621-7505; fax:617-621-7550).

Notification of acceptance will be given by November 30, 1994.
Material to be included in the working notes of the symposium
must be received by January 20, 1995.

Organizing Committee:
Marilyn Walker (co-chair), Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs,
Johanna Moore (co-chair), University of Pittsburgh,;
Marti Hearst, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center;
Lynette Hirschman, MITRE;
Aravind Joshi, University of Pennsylvania;
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