Dialogue Modelling

April-May 2021

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Topics covered in the course

(This overview of topics is tentative, and does not necessarily reflect the order in which the different topics will be covered in class. For each topic, there is some background literature (mostly classic work). These are not the papers to be discussed in class – the list of discussion papers is not yet available.)

Types of dialogue and dialogue datasets

What type of language use can be considered “dialogue”? Key distinctions: Open conversation vs task-oriented; spoken vs written; face-to-face vs mediated; synchronous vs asynchronous; symmetric vs asymmetric (roles, knowledge, ability…).

Background literature

  • Serban et al. A Survey of Available Corpora for Building Data-Driven Dialogue Systems, Dialogue and Discourse, 2018. [PDF] [website]

Dialogue acts and conversational structure

Background literature

  • Austin, How to do Things with Words, Oxford University Press, 1962.
  • Levinson, chapter 5 “Speech Acts” and chapter 6 “Conversational structure” in Pragmatics, CUP, 1983.
  • Clark, chapter 5 “Communicative Acts” and chapter 6 “Conversational Organisation” in Using Language, CUP, 1996.

Conversational grounding

Background literature

  • Clark & Schaefer, Contributing to Discourse, Cognitive Science, 13: 259-294, 1989. [PDF]
  • Clark, chapter 7 “Joint projects” and chapter 8 “Grounding” in Using Language, CUP, 1996.

Rational speech act theory

Background literature

  • Grice, Logic and Conversation, in Syntax and Semantics (Cole et al. eds), 1975. [PDF]
  • Frank & Goodman, Predicting Pragmatic Reasoning in Language Games, Science, vol. 336, 2012.
  • G. Scontras, M. H. Tessler, and M. Franke (2018). Probabilistic language understanding: An introduction to the Rational Speech Act framework. [website]


Background literature

  • Brennan & Clark, Conceptual pacts and lexical choice in conversation. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 22:1482–1493, 1996. [PDF]
  • Pickering & Garrod, Towards a mechanistic psychology of dialogue. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27:169-225, 2004.[PDF]
  • Brown-Schmidt et al., People as Contexts in Conversation, in The Psychology of Learning and Motivation (pp. 59–99). Academic Press: Elsevier Inc. [PDF]
  • Giles, Communication accommodation theory [website]

Dialogue systems

Background literature

  • Micheal McTear, Conversational AI: Dialogue System, Conversational Agents, and Chatbots, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2020. [eBook available at the UvA online library]
  • Martin & Jurafsky, Dialogue Systems and Chatbots, chapter 24 in Speech and Language Processing, 3rd edition, 2020. [PDF]
  • Serban et al. A Survey of Available Corpora for Building Data-Driven Dialogue Systems, Dialogue and Discourse, 2018. [PDF] [website]
  • Chen, Celikyilmaz, and Hakkani-Tur, Deep Learning for Dialogue Systems / Conversational AI. Tutorial at COLING-2018 [abstract] [Website with all versions of this tutorial at different recent conferences]

Visually grounded language and dialogue models

Background literature

  • Beinborn et al. Multimodal Grounding for Language Processing, in Proceedings of COLING, 2018. [PDF]
  • Bernardi et al. Automatic Description Generation from Images: A Survey of Models, Datasets, and Evaluation Measures, Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, vol. 55, 2016. [PDF]
  • Ju et al., All-in-one Image-Grounded Conversational Agents, 2020, ArXiv preprint [PDF]