SIGdial 2013

14th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Training and evaluation of an MDP model for social multi-user human-robot interaction

Simon Keizer, Mary Ellen Foster, Oliver Lemon, Andre Gaschler, Manuel Giuliani

This paper describes a new approach to automatic learning of strategies for social multi-user human-robot interaction. Using the example of a robot bartender that tracks multiple customers, takes their orders, and serves drinks, we propose a model consisting of a Social State Recogniser (SSR) which processes audio-visual input and maintains a model of the social state, together with a Social Skills Executor (SSE) which takes social state updates from the SSR as input and generates robot responses as output. The SSE is modelled as two connected Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) with action selection policies that are jointly optimised in interaction with a Multi-User Simulation Environment (MUSE). The SSR and SSE have been integrated in the robot bartender system and evaluated with human users in hand-coded and trained SSE policy variants. The results indicate that the trained policy outperformed the hand-coded policy in terms of both subjective (+18%) and objective (+10.5%) task success.