Ontologies and Adaptivity in Dialogue for Question Answering


Sonntag, D.

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"The appeal of being able to ask a question to a mobile internet terminal and receive an answer immediately has been renewed by the broad availability of information on the Web. Ideally, a spoken dialogue system that uses the Web as its knowledge base would be able to answer a broad range of questions. A new generation of natural language dialogue systems is emerging that transforms traditional keyword search engines into semantic answering machines by providing exact and concise answers formulated in natural language instead of today's long lists of document references, which the user has to check by himself for relevant answers.

This book presents the anatomy of the fully operational SmartWeb system (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with grants totaling 14 million euros) that provides not only an open-domain question answering machine but a multimodal web service interface for coherent dialogue, where questions and commands are interpreted according to the context of the previous conversation. One of the key innovations described in this book is the ability of the system to learn how to predict the probability that it can answer a complex user query in a given time interval.

Daniel Sonntag's work within the SmartWeb project has laid important foundations for Theseus's efforts towards semantic web technologies for the Web 3.0. Theseus is the German flagship project on the Internet of Services, where the user can delegate complex tasks to dynamically composed semantic web services by utilizing multimodal interaction combining speech and multi-touch input on advanced smartphones."

Wolfgang Wahlster and Randy Goebel

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