CFP: Detecting and Preventing Miscommunication (Due Mar 18)

"Dr. Susan McRoy" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 18:07:34 -0600
From: "Dr. Susan McRoy" <>
Message-id: <>
Subject: CFP: Detecting and Preventing Miscommunication (Due Mar 18) 
               AAAI '96 Workshop---Portland, OR

Any system that communicates must be able to cope with the possibility
of miscommunication---including misunderstanding, non-understanding, and

   o   In misunderstanding, one participant obtains an interpretation 
       that she believes is complete and correct, but which is, however, 
       not the one that the other speaker intended her to obtain.  

   o   In non-understanding, a participant either fails to obtain any
       interpretation at all, or obtains more than one interpretation, 
       with no way to choose among them.

   o   In misinterpretation, the most likely interpretation of a 
       participant's utterance suggests that their beliefs about the world
       are unexpectedly out of alignment with the other's.

All three forms of miscommunication can eventually lead to repair in
a dialogue; however, misinterpretations and non-understandings are
typically recognized immediately, whereas a participant is not aware,
at least initially, when a misunderstanding occurs.  Additionally, 
misinterpretation can be a source of misunderstanding.

Successful communication requires that participants share considerable
knowledge.  For example, they must share some knowledge about the state
of their interaction and about the physical and social situation in
which they are communicating.  Knowledge of their interaction includes
the current topic under discussion (often a shared task), the focus of
attention, and the relevance of each utterance to the previous
interaction.  In practice, no two participants start with an identical
understanding of their task or of the situation---nor can they take the
time to identify and resolve discrepancies beforehand.  As a result,
participants must be prepared to handle miscommunication during dialogue.

Research related to achieving robust interaction is an important subarea 
in Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Early work concerned the correction of 
spelling or grammatical errors in a user's utterance so that the system 
could more easily match them against a fixed linguistic model; work has 
also been done in the area of speech recognition, attempting to find the 
best fit of a sound signal to legal sequences of linguistic objects.  
Other systems have attempted to detect misconceptions in the user's model 
of the domain of discourse.  All of these approaches have assumed that the 
system's model is always correct.  More recently, researchers have been 
looking at detecting and correcting errors in the system's model of an 
interaction. This work includes research on speech repairs, 
miscommunication, misunderstanding, non-understanding, and related work 
in planning, such as plan misrecognition and plan repair.

The focus of this workshop is to bring together researchers interested in 
developing theoretical models of robust interaction or in designing robust 
systems.  Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

   o   Theories that delineate what knowledge must be represented, how 
       it will be obtained and updated, and how responsibility for 
       achieving robustness might be distributed among the interactants.

   o   Strategies for identifying POTENTIAL causes of breakdowns, such as 
       ambiguities, misconceptions, and plan misrecognition, in order to 
       avert miscommunication.

   o   Strategies for identifying symptoms of ACTUAL breakdowns, such as 
       deviations from expected behavior, unresolvable ambiguities, and 
       speech errors.

   o   Techniques for correcting errors in interpretation that have 
       been used in other areas of AI, such as plan recognition and 
       computer vision, and in related areas, such as human-computer 
       interaction and multimedia.

   o   Approaches to minimizing and correcting miscommunication in 
       tutoring systems and education.

   o   Empirical data regarding the occurrence of miscommunication and
       approaches to robust communication that derive from empirical 

   o   Research in knowledge representation that would be useful
       in detecting, repairing, and preventing miscommunication.

We solicit papers that explore these issues, and papers that discuss
implementations of solutions to the problems of detecting, repairing,
and preventing human--machine miscommunication.  Papers submitted to
the workshop should address these topics explicitly. As AAAI procedures
require, participation will be limited to 65. 

  Susan McRoy, chair
  University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee
  (414) 229--6695 (phone)
  (414) 229--6958 (fax)

  Brad Goodman                          Kathleen McCoy
  Mitre Corporation                     University of Delaware    

  Susan Haller                          Ronnie Smith
  University of Wisconsin--Parkside     East Carolina University           

  Graeme Hirst                          David Traum
  University of Toronto                 TECFA, Universite de Geneve           

  Submission deadline:    March 18, 1996
  Author notification:    April 15, 1996
  Camera-ready copy due:  May 13, 1996
  Conference dates:       August 4--8, 1996

  Submit an extended abstract. Abstracts should not exceed 10 pages,
  exclusive of references, in 12 point, double-spaced text, with one-inch 

  We strongly encourage electronic submissions, either plain text or 
  postscript.  Emailed submissions should be emailed to with a subject heading ``ATTN: AAAI MNM''.
  In the event that electronic submission is not possible, send 6 
  copies to:

     Susan McRoy
     ATTN: AAAI MNM Workshop
     Computer Science, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee
     3200 North Cramer Street, EMS Room 503
     Milwaukee, WI  53211

This cfp is on the WWW at