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AIC Seminar Series

The Smart Personal Assistant: An Overview

Wayne WobckeUniversity of New South Wales[Home Page]

Notice:  hosted by Neil Yorke-Smith

Date:  Thursday, March 22nd 2007 at 4:00pm

Location:  EJ228  (Directions)


The Smart Personal Assistant (SPA) enables users to access e-mail and calendar information using natural language dialogue through a PDA device. The user interface to the SPA must present the system as a single unified set of back-end task assistants, enabling the user to conduct a dialogue in which it is easy to switch between these domains. The SPA is implemented using JACK Intelligent Agents, and includes a special BDI Coordinator agent with plans both for coordinating the actions of the task assistants and for encoding the system’s dialogue model.

This talk will provide an overview of the Smart Personal Assistant project, including the rationale for the system design, the research and engineering issues addressed in building the SPA, and the results of a recent user study to test both the effectiveness of dialogue management and the usability of the system. The research contributions of the project include an agent-based approach to dialogue management and a method for the use of Ripple Down Rules in e-mail and calendar management – a rule-based technique that guarantees a high degree of accuracy whilst not being burdensome for the user to create and maintain rule sets. More general issues discussed include strategies used in dialogue processing to compensate for speech recognition errors, and the design of usability studies for personal assistant systems. The emphasis given to these topics can be varied according to the interests of the audience. Joint work with Anh Nguyen, Van Ho and Alfred Krzywicki.

   Bio for Wayne Wobcke

Wayne Wobcke is an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales. He is also Program Manager for the Natural Adaptive User Interfaces/Smart Personal Assistants Program of the Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Internet Technology (a government funded university-industry collaborative research centre).

His current research interests centre on the development of logics of rational agency that are computationally grounded in PRS-type agent architectures, and on personal assistant applications, focusing on dialogue management and computational models of teamwork. Between 1998 and 2000, he worked at British Telecom Laboratories in the U.K. on the Intelligent Assistant project, which was recognized in the award of the British Computer Society Medal for Innovation in Information Technology.

   On-line Resources