SIGdial 2013

14th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

POMDP-based dialogue manager adaptation to extended domains

Milica Gasic, Catherine Breslin, Matthew Henderson, Dongho Kim, Martin Szummer, Blaise Thomson, Pirros Tsiakoulis, Steve Young

Existing spoken dialogue systems are typically designed to operate in a static and well-defined domain, and are not well suited to tasks in which the concepts and values change dynamically. To handle dynamically changing domains, techniques will be needed to transfer and reuse existing dialogue policies and rapidly adapt them using a small number of dialogues in the new domain. As a first step in this direction, this paper addresses the problem of automatically extending a dialogue system to include a new previously unseen concept (or slot) which can be then used as a search constraint in an information query. The paper shows that in the context of Gaussian process POMDP optimisation, a domain can be extended through a simple expansion of the kernel and then rapidly adapted. As well as being much quicker, adaptation rather than retraining from scratch is shown to avoid subjecting users to unacceptably poor performance during the learning stage.