[Univ of Cambridge] [Dept of Engineering]


Steve Young










Current and Recent Projects


Open Domain Statistical Spoken Dialogue Systems

The aim of this project is to develop tools and techniques which enable a spoken dialogue system to line on-line how to sustain a conversation about hitherto unseen concepts and topics. This includes learning to handle new 'slots' being introduced into an existing domain (for example, whether or not a smartphone supports contactless payment) or the emergence of a new domain (for example, internet-connected components for home automation). The techniques being explored are focussed on data-driven components for understanding, dialogue management and generation; and the key ideas centre on the use of generic models which can be specialised to new slots and domains, and committees of experts which can combine knowledge from a pool of domains in order to create a solution for a new domain. (EPSRC ODS-SDS Project Website)
Sponsor: EPSRC

Parlance: Tools for Ambient Linguistic Knowledge

This is a collaborative project that aims to design and build mobile applications that approach human performance in conversational interaction. The project involves developing an architecture to support incremental dialogue, and advancing statistical approaches to allow dialogues to adapt and extend to new domains. (Parlance Project Website)
Sponsor: EU FP7: STREP

Robust Dialogue for Infotainment

The goal of this project is to develop techniques and tools which will enable information services to be provided in-car using natural spoken language [ie not keywords or prescribed commands] as the primary input/output modality. The approach is based on a novel statistical framework called the Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (POMDP). The key benefit of the approach is that for a given level of recognition accuracy, a POMDP-based dialogue manager can provide increased tolerance to errors and a more natural user-oriented dialogue. The research results will be demonstrated by a proof-of-concept server-based implementation of an in-car tourist information service which will demonstrate both a habitable dialogue and significantly improved robustness compared to existing spoken dialogue technology.
Sponsor: General Motors

ATK/HTK: Real-Time HMM Toolkit for Spoken Dialogue Systems

This is a project to develop a set of freely available C++ wrappers to allow speech recognition systems developed using HTK .  to be easily integrated into real-time spoken dialogue systems. (More)
Sponsor: Cambridge University

CLASSIC: Tools for Ambient Linguistic Knowledge

This is a collaborative project to investigate end-end statistical approaches to building spoken dialogue systems, and in particular the use of reinforcement learning and partially observable MDPs for modelling the dialogue management component of such systems.  (Classic Project Website)
Sponsor: EU FP7: STREP

Spoken Dialogue Management using Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes

This project aims to develop a specific implementation strategy for POMDP-based spoken dialogue systems called the Hidden Information State (HIS) system. In this approach, dialogue states are grouped into partitions and represented by collections of branching trees. The work focuses on the efficient manipulation of these tries, probability models and efficient policy optimisation. (Project Website)
Sponsor: EPSRC EP/F013930/1