A task ontology model for domain independent dialogue management
Dialogue systems have been a rapidly growing area in both scientific research and commercial application since 1990s. They can be applied in various fields, such as business, healthcare and education, etc. Due to its complexity, the design and development of a dialogue system is time consuming and costly. It is highly desirable for a generic dialogue system, especially dialogue management that is independent of specific domains. Methods or architecture for domain independent dialogue systems have been proposed by previous research in literature, however each of them has its own limitations and none has been widely adopted. This paper presents a new approach, a task ontology model for domain independent dialogue management. An abstract task ontology model is developed and based on this model a generic dialogue manager is created. Knowledge about a specific task is modeled in its task ontology and retrieved by an ontology reasoning component situated in the dialogue manager. Thus the dialogue manager is task or domain independent. A dialogue system is developed based on the proposed method and experimented with two different tasks: the book borrowing and the online train ticket booking. The experiment results indicate that the dialogue system can be readily applied to tasks from different domains without any modification. This paper has implications on future research and development of domain independent dialogue systems. It also contributes to the knowledge and dialogue system reuse and will have impact on the application of dialogue systems in a wider range of areas.