In the span of only a few years, conversational systems have become commonplace. Every day, millions of people use natural-language interfaces such as Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Alexa and others via in-home devices, phones, or messaging channels such as Messenger, Slack, Skype, among others. At the same time, interest among the research community in conversational systems has blossomed: for supervised and reinforcement learning, conversational systems often serve as both a benchmark task and an inspiration for new ML methods at conferences which don't focus on speech and language per se, such as NIPS, ICML, IJCAI, and others. Such movement has not been unnoticed by major publications. This year in collaboration with AAAI community, the AI magazine will have a special issue on conversational AI (https://tinyurl.com/y6shq2ld). Moreover, research community challenge tasks are proliferating, including the seventh Dialog Systems Technology Challenge (DSTC7), the Amazon Alexa prize, and the Conversational Intelligence Challenge live competitions at NIPS (2017, 2018).
Following the overwhelming participation in our last two NeurIPS workshops:
2017: 9 invited talks, 26 submissions, 3 oral papers, 13 accepted papers, 37 reviewers
2018: 4 invited talks, 42 submission, 6 oral papers, 23 accepted papers, 58 reviewers, we are excited to continue promoting cross-pollination of ideas between academic research centers and industry. The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners in this area, to clarify impactful research problems, understand well-founded methods, share findings from large-scale real-world deployments, and generate new ideas for future lines of research.
This one day workshop will include invited talks and a panel from academia and industry, contributed work, and open discussion.
Alborz Geramifard (Facebook AI)
Jason Williams (Apple)
Bill Byrne (Google)
Bill is a research scientist at Google currently focusing on data-driven dialogue systems and data corpora. Past projects include voice search, voice actions, dictation and correction and various other speech and general HCI efforts. He originally joined Google's speech team in 2005. Before Google, Bill was director of speech solutions at SAP Labs in Palo Alto and previously director of speech & language at General Magic in Sunnyvale. He was also consulting professor at Stanford from 2001-2007 where he designed and taught courses on speech application design. Bill was lecturer at Santa Clara University from 1997-1999. He received his PhD in from UC San Diego in 1998.
Asli Celikyilmaz (Microsoft Research)
Milica Gasic (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Dilek Hakkani-Tur (Amazon Alexa AI)
Matt Henderson (PolyAI)
Luis Lastras (IBM Research AI)
Mari Ostendorf (University of Washington)
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