Ontology-Based Discourse Understanding for a Persistent Meeting Assistant

John Niekrasz, Matthew Purver, John Dowding, and Stanley Peters

In this paper, we present research toward ontology-based understanding of discourse in meetings and describe an ontology of multimodal discourse designed for this purpose. We investigate its application in an integrated but modular architecture which uses semantically annotated knowledge of communicative meeting activity as well as discourse subject matter. We highlight how this approach assists in improving system performance over time and supports understanding in a changing and persistent environment. We also describe current and future plans for ontology-driven robust natural-language understanding in the presence of the highly ambiguous and errorful input typical of the meeting domain.

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