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The second Conversational AI workshop – today's practice and tomorrow's potential
Alborz Geramifard · Jason Williams · Larry Heck · Jim Glass · Milica Gasic · Dilek Hakkani-Tur · Steve Young · Lazaros Polymenakos · Y-Lan Boureau · Maxine Eskenazi

Fri Dec 07 05:00 AM -- 03:30 PM (PST) @ Room 519
Event URL: http://alborz-geramifard.com/workshops/nips18-Conversational-AI »

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. 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 year NIPS workshop (9 invited talks, 26 submissions, 3 orals papers, 13 accepted papers, 37 PC members, and couple of hundreds of participants), 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, share findings from large-scale real-world deployments, and generate new ideas for future lines of research.

This workshop will include invited talks from academia and industry, contributed work, and open discussion. In these talks, senior technical leaders from many of the most popular conversational services will give insights into real usage and challenges at scale. An open call for papers will be issued, and we will prioritize forward-looking papers that propose interesting and impactful contributions. We will end the day with an open discussion, including a panel consisting of academic and industrial researchers.

Author Information

Alborz Geramifard (Facebook)
Jason Williams (Apple)
Larry Heck (Samsung Research America)
Jim Glass (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Milica Gasic (University of Cambridge)
Dilek Hakkani-Tur (Google)
Steve Young (Apple Computer)

Steve Young is Professor of Information Engineering at Cambridge University and a Senior Member of Technical Staff at Apple. His main research interests lie in the area of statistical spoken language systems including speech recognition, speech synthesis and dialogue management. He is the recipient of a number of awards including an IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award and an IEEE James L Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. In addition to his academic career, he has also founded a number of successful start-ups in the speech technology area

Lazaros Polymenakos (IBM Research AI: Implicit Learning for Dialog)

Dr. Lazaros Polymenakos manages the Implicit Learning for Dialog group and is a senior research scientist in the area of Artificial Intelligence at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. In 2018 he is co-organizing Track 1 of the Dialog State Tracking Challenge 7 and the NIPS 2018 Workshop on Dialog. His current research focus is on advanced machine learning for end-to-end dialog systems and knowledge representation. His research interests span the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Intelligent Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, Perceptual Interfaces and Optimization techniques. He received his Ph.D. and Master degrees from MIT (’95, ’92 respectively) and his undergraduate from NTUA (’89, top in class). Prior to IBM, he held several positions in academia (Full Professor, Associate Dean at AIT-Greece, Adjunct prof. CMU, visiting prof. NTUA) and in industry both in the USA and in Europe. He has been the inceptor and served as the prime investigator for several large funded research projects in the areas of intelligent systems (audio, vision, ambient), multimodal interaction, and optimization. He is an IEEE member and his research and academic work has led to more than 50 journal publications, a book on AI, and more than 50 conference papers. He is has more than 10 international patents and has served on the organizing committees of several international conferences.

Y-Lan Boureau (Facebook)
Maxine Eskenazi (carnegie mellon university)

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