Recent improvements in the CMU spoken language understanding system

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TitleRecent improvements in the CMU spoken language understanding system
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsWard, W, Issar S
Conference NameProceedings of the workshop on Human Language Technology
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
ISBN Number1558603573
Abstract

The CMU Phoenix system is an experiment in understanding spontaneous speech. It has been implemented for the Air Travel Information Service task. In this task, casual users are asked to obtain information from a database of air travel information. Users are not given a vocabulary, grammar or set of sentences to read. They compose queries themselves in a spontaneous manner. This task presents speech recognizers with many new problems compared to the Resource Management task. Not only is the speech not fluent, but the vocabulary and grammar are open. Also, the task is not just to produce a transcription, but to produce an action, retrieve data from the database. Taking such actions requires parsing and "understanding" the utteraoce. Word error rate is not as important as utterance understanding rate. Phoenix attempts to deal with phenomena that occur in spontaneous speech. Unknown words, restarts, repeats, and poody formed or unusual grammar are common is spontaneous speech and are very disruptive to standard recognizers. These events lead to misrecognitions which often cause a total parse failure. Our strategy is to apply grammatical con- straints at the phrase level and to use semantic rather than lexical grammars. Semantics provide more constraint than parts of speech and must ultimately be delt with in order to take actions. Applying constraints at the phrase level is more flexible than recognizing sentences as a whole while providing much more constraint than word-spotting, Restarts and repeats are most often between phase occurences, so individual phrases can still be recognized correctly. Poorly constructed grammar often consists of well-formed phrases, and is often semantically well-formed. It is only syntactically incorrect. We associate phrases by frame-based semantics. Phrases represent word strings that can fill slots in frames. The slots represent information which the frame is able to act on. The current Phoenix system uses a bigram language model with the Sphinx speech recognition system. The top-scoring word string is passed to a flexible frame-based parser, The parser assigns phrases (word strings) from the input to slots in frames. The slots represent information content needed for the frame. A beam of frame hypotheses is produced and the best scoring one is used to produce an SQL query.

URLhttp://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/H/H91/H91-1016.pdf