LING 575 - Spoken Dialog Systems
Spring 2017

Days Time (P.M.) Classroom
Wednesdays 3:30-5:50 SAV 136

Course Evaluations

Name: Gina-Anne Levow
Office: GUG 418B
Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30-3pm
or by appointment
or Skype, too

Course Resources

Course description

The course will cover the theory and practice of spoken dialog systems. The course will have readings and lectures on general techniques and issues in spoken dialog systems, and will use publicly available tools and toolkits to investigate spoken dialog systems. The target will be conversational systems that are more flexible than the typical flight status phone system. Students will work with the components of a typical spoken dialog system pipeline, including speech recognizer grammars, semantic interpretation for inputs, dialog managers and conversational design, and speech output.


There is no required textbook. Instead, the course readings will be drawn from contemporary articles and tutorials available online. Helpful background material can also be found in:


No specific prerequisites, though prior programming experience will be helpful.



Homework assignments will include critical reading assignments and implementation tasks that are narrow in scope and allow you to gain experience with particular spoken dialog systems tools and components.


There will be oral presentations required during the term, including:


Projects may be completed either individually or in small groups (2-3). Examples of possible topics and prior course projects appear here. -Details of project write-ups and requirements can be found here. NOTE: If you are taking this course to satisfy a Linguistics elective requirement, you must complete a project with a substantial linguistic analysis and a corresponding analytic term paper. Please let me know when you select your topic.

Course Mechanics

Additional detailed information on grading, collaboration, incompletes, etc.

Schedule In Progress

Date Topics Readings Assignment
March 29 Intro to Spoken Dialog; Overview J&M 24 KWLA paper (part 1): due 4/3 Overview
April 5 Dialog System Components I J&M 24
J&M 9.1,9.2,9.5,9.6
Kaldi Assignment: Due 4/11 Systems & Components
April 12 Components II SDS: 1.2-1.5; 2.1-2.3; Enter presentation topics
on GoPost: Due 4/18
Enter project topics
on GoPost: Due 4/21
April 19 Dialog Management:
Information State
SDS, 2.4 Basic Dialog Homework Dialog Management
April 26 Statistical DM;
    Statistical DM
May 3 Specialized Topics & Presentations Prosody (Elizabeth)
Affect, Emotion (Anna)
Turn-taking (Travis)
Multi-party (Austin)
Critical Reading Assignments (Due 5/2 23:45)
Please remember to also post questions to GoPost
All slides
May 10 Specialized Topics & Presentations Miscommunication & Repair (Ajda, Melina)
Multi-linguality (Tracy, Eli)
Active Learning (Marina)
Critical Reading Assignments (Due 5/9 23:45)
Please remember to also post questions to GoPost
Merged slides
May 17 Specialized Topics & Presentations Chatbots (Luke, Karen)
Entrainment in dialog (Ayushi)
Persona and Personification in dialog (Alex S.)
Context (Nick)
Critical Reading Assignments (Due 5/16 23:45)
Please remember to also post questions to GoPost

Final Project
Merged slides
May 24 Specialized Topics & Presentations Knowledge Acquisition (Macklin)
Applications: Tutoring (Denise, Wenxi)
Applications: Medical (Alex C., William)
  Merged slides
May 31 Final Project Presentations     Merged PDF presentations
Merged PPTX presentations