Ron Petrick's Webpages

Seminar talk

Planning for Natural Language: Adventures in Instruction Giving and Robot Dialogue, R. Petrick, slides from a talk presented at the Department of Computer Science, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, 2010-09-08.

[ slides ]


Natural language generation and dialogue both have long traditions as application areas of automated planning systems. While current mainstream approaches have largely ignored the planning approach to natural language, several recent research efforts have sparked a renewed interest in this area.

In this talk, I will describe ongoing work on applying planning techniques to two novel domains inspired by problems in natural language: the GIVE (Generating Instructions in Virtual Environments) domain, and a robot dialogue domain from the EU PACO-PLUS project. In GIVE, we model the underlying task problem as an instance of the classical planning problem, and investigate the efficiency of current off-the-shelf planners like FF and SGPLAN in this domain. In PACO-PLUS, we use the knowledge-level PKS planner and treat the problem of generating sequences of speech acts as the more general problem of planning with incomplete information and sensing actions. Overall, our results are mixed: while some planners perform well on particular problem instances, others pose a challenge for the current generation of automated planners, making these problems suitable benchmarks for future research.

This talk describes joint work with Alexander Koller (Universität des Saarlandes) on GIVE, and Mark Steedman (University of Edinburgh) on PACO-PLUS.