The Structures Of Discourse Structure
by Grosz, Barbara J., and Sidner, Candace. L.
Technical Note 369
Institution: AI Center, SRI International
Address: 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Note: This report will be published in Computational Linguistics, 1986, and also as technical note CSLI-85-39 from the Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, and Report No. 6097, from BBN Laboratories. This paper was made possible by a gift from the System Development Foundation. Support was also provided for the second author by the Defense Department Advanced Research Project Agency under contract N0001J-85-C-0079 from the office of Naval Research.
This paper presents the basic elements of a computational theory of discourse structure that simplifies and expands upon previous work. It is concerned with answers to two rather simple questions: What is discourse? What is discourse structure? As we develop it, the theory of discourse will be seen to be intimately connected with two nonlinguistic notions, namely intention and attention. Attention is an essential factor in explicating the processing of utterances in discourse. Intentions play a primary role in explaining discourse structure, defining discourse coherence, and providing a coherent conceptualization of the term "discourse" itself.