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School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering


"Interactive Dialogues for Explanation and Learning"

Staff and funding

Principal investigators: Prof Alistair Sutcliffe (Now at UMIST)

Research staff: Maggie Cooper, Prof Neil Maiden

Funding source: EU

Project description

IDEAL was an EU funded basic research project (p3160) which researched explanation dialogues from 1989-1992. The project was coordinated by City University with 3 academic partners. Key research achievements were development of a discourse theory for explanation, advanced knowledge representation and planning models for task based explanation and producing significant experimental results on human explanation dialogues.

The Centre for HCI Design carried out empirical studies on human-human explanation discourse which led to development of a dialogue model for human-computer explanation incorporating a novel approach to planning task based explanation that integrated dialogue with action for demonstration and active guidance. Key features of the research included:

- Development of a discourse analysis method
- Discourse/action analysis of a corpus of human explanation dialogues
- Specification of experts' strategies and discourse structures for task based explanation
- Specification of a dialogue planning model for computer assisted task based explanation
- Definition of discourse patterns for task based explanation
- Guidelines for use of multimedia in explanation

The research results have been published in several journal and conference papers and the corpus of human explanatory dialogues is available for other researchers. Results from this project were exploited in EU Projects INTUITIVE and Eurostat. For further information contact Alistair Sutcliffe.

Publications include