In less than a decade, conversational systems have become commonplace. Every day, millions of people use natural-language interfaces such as Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Alexa and others via in-home devices, phones, or messaging channels such as Messenger, Slack, Skype, among others. At the same time, interest among the research community in conversational systems has blossomed: for supervised and reinforcement learning, conversational systems often serve as both a benchmark task and an inspiration for new ML methods at conferences which don't focus on speech and language per se, such as NeurIPS, ICML, IJCAI, and others. Such movement has not been unnoticed by major publications. This year in collaboration with AAAI community, the AI magazine will have a special issue on conversational AI. Moreover, research community challenge tasks are proliferating, including the seventh Dialog Systems Technology Challenge (DSTC7), the Amazon Alexa prize, and the Conversational Intelligence Challenge live competitions at NeurIPS (2017, 2018).
Following two successful NeurIPS workshops:
2017: 9 invited talks, 26 submissions, 3 oral papers, 13 accepted papers, 37 reviewers
2018: 4 invited talks, 42 submission, 6 oral papers, 23 accepted papers, 58 reviewers,
we are excited to continue promoting cross-pollination of ideas between academic research centers and industry. The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners in this area, to clarify impactful research problems, understand well-founded methods, share findings from large-scale real-world deployments, and generate new ideas for future lines of research.
This workshop will include invited talks from academia and industry, contributed work, and open discussion. In these talks, senior technical leaders from many of the most popular conversational services will give insights into real usage and challenges at scale. We will end the day with an open discussion, including a panel consisting of academic and industrial researchers.