Computing Dialogue Acts from Features with Transformation-Based Learning

Ken Samuel, Sandra Carberry, and K. Vijay-Shanker

To interpret natural language at the discourse level, it is very useful to accurately recognize dialogue acts, such as SUGGEST, in identifying speaker intentions. Our research explores the utility of a machine learning method called Transformation-Based Learning (TBL) in computing dialogue acts, because TBL has a number of advantages over alternative approaches for this application. We have identified some extensions to TBL that are necessary in order to address the limitations of the original algorithm and the particular demands of discourse processing. We use a Monte Carlo strategy to increase the applicability of the TBL method, and we select features of utterances that can be used as input to improve the performance of TBL. Our system is currently being tested on the VERBMOBIL corpora of spoken dialogues, producing promising preliminary results.

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