2009Q3 Reports: SIGDIAL

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REPORT ON SIGDIAL ACTIVITIES: June 2008 to July 2009

Tim Paek, SIGDIAL President Kristiina Jokinen, SIGDIAL Secretary-Treasurer

SIGDIAL is the ACL and ISCA Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue. More information about SIGDIAL can be found on the webpages: http://www.sigdial.org including an updated calendar of upcoming events, resources, and previous reports. Members can join from the webpage, which includes participation in a low-volume, moderated mailing list (mainly conference and job announcements). SIGDIAL currently has 472 members from 36 countries (though we are currently trying to filter non-active accounts). SIGDIAL is fully compliant with ACL and ISCA guidelines for SIGs.

An election of officers and three advisory board members was held in Spring of 2008 for a 2 year term. SIGDIAL is currently led by officers Tim Paek (President), Amanda Stent (Vice President), and Kristiina Jokinen (Secretary- Treasurer), and Science Advisory Committee members Mikio Nakano, Michael McTear, David Schlangen, Candace Sidner, Janyce Wiebe and Jason Williams. Additional positions are President Emeritus: David Traum, Information officer: Karen Ward, SIG SLUD/JSAI liaison: Yasuhiro Katagiri, ISCA Liaison: Michael Picheny, AVIOS Liaison: Alexander Rudnicky, SIGSEM Liaison: Harry Bunt, and IEEE SLT Liaison: Roberto Pieraccini, Mailing List Maintainer: Laurent Romary. Due to the opening of a separate euro-account for the Sigdial conferences and the added responsibility of the related financial issues, the title of the secretary was also changed to Secretary-Treasurer.

SIGDIAL has held an annual workshop on discourse and dialogue since 2000. The last workshop was held in June 19-20, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio, just after the ACL/HLT 2008 conference. The program chairs were Beth Ann Hockey and David Schlangen, and Simon Keizer was local arrangements chair. More information on SIGDIAL workshops can be found here: http://www.sigdial.org/workshops/

Moving into the future, SIGDIAL recently announced that the new annual meeting will no longer be a workshop, but rather a conference. The conference will be held immediately following Interspeech 2007 on September 11-12, 2009 at Queen Mary University of London. The General Co-Chairs will be Pat Healy and Roberto Pieraccini. The Technical Co-Chairs will be Donna Byron and Steve Young. The SIGDIAL 2009 website can be found here: http://www.sigdial.org/workshops/workshop10/. Upon inaugurating SIGDIAL 2009 as a conference, we will be recognizing a Best Paper Award as well as a Best Student Paper award. Submissions were closed on May 4, and notifications of acceptance have been sent out. We received a record number of submissions this year: 110 papers.

Several new initiatives are underway including:

  • a revamped website with more resources and Wiki ability for community participation
  • launching of a new open access journal specializing in dialogue and discourse
  • outreach to various related research communities

SIGDIAL also endorses a number of other dialogue-related workshops and events that are open to the general community. The SIGDIAL Endorsed events for the upcoming year are:

  • May, 2009: Towards a Standard Markup Language for Embodied Dialogue Acts (Budapest, Hungary)
  • June, 2009: DiaHolmia: 2009 Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • July 2009: 6th Workshop on Knowledge and Reasoning in Practical Dialogue Systems (Pasadena, CA)
  • July, 2010: Second NLG Challenge on Generating Instructions in Virtual Environments (GIVE)

Financial organisation of the SIGDial workshops co-located with the main ACL conferences has been possible through the ACL "shadow" account. This is managed by the ACL officers but the budget for the workshops is supervised and agreed in cooperation with the workshop chairs and the SIGdial officers. Financial arrangements for the meetings not co-located with ACL have been taken care of by the chairs of the workshops through their university accounts. The overheads generated by these events, due to an unexpectedly large number of participants, is kept on a separate SIGDial account located in Helsinki. The account is in euros, and it is managed by the Secretary- Treasurer and the President.