Towards a Model for Mixed Initiative in Dialogue Discourse

Susan Haller, Susan McRoy and Syed Ali

We are working on representing discourse in a system that we want to support mixed initiative interaction. The basis for this discussion is the authors’ work on a system for helping students understand the reasoning behind decision-support systems that use statistical information. The project involves taking an existing system, Banter (Haddawy, Jacobson, and Jr. 1996), in which control of the interaction rests primarily with the system, and redesigning it as a mixed initiative, cooperative agent, a system we call B2. Tutoring systems are a natural testbed for studies of mixed initiative because, at a minimum, the overarching discourse goal is clear: one participant is supposed to come to "know" what the other participant "knows" as a result of the interaction. Both participants are capable of taking control of the interaction to achieve this end.

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