The AIAI Seminar Series in association with the SSP group of DAI
March 11th, Wednesday, 2pm-3pm,
Department of Artificial Intelligence, 80 South Bridge, Room F13


A Framework for Requirements Elicitation through Natural Language Dialogue

Renaud Lecoeuche

Numerous approaches have tackled the issue of obtaining requirements through natural language (NL) statements. However most of them are considering this issue as a translation problem from NL statements to formal specifications. They do not recognise the elicitation process as a dialogue between users and computer. As a result most of the burden of writing correct requirements still lies with users; the computer doing only a translation.

In this talk, I will contrast these approaches with an approach where both users and computer take part in a dialogue to define the requirements. One of the problems of having a dialogue is the need to agree on what to speak about, to allow users to change topic while providing guidance. This problem is tackled by using focus rules. After a brief presentation of the notion of focus, I will show how a dialogue manager based on it can be integrated with an elicitation system. I will detail how the responsibilities are shared between the elicitation system and the dialogue manager. The advantages of using a dialogue manager, such as mixed-initiative, will then be discussed. Finally an example of dialogue produced by an early implementation of the system will be given.