6.0415 NATO Workshop: Burning Issues in Discourse (1/144)

Tue, 15 Dec 1992 00:05:04 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0415. Tuesday, 15 Dec 1992.

Date: Sat, 12 Dec 92 18:41:46 PST
From: Eduard Hovy <hovy@ISI.EDU>
Subject: Workshop announcement: Burning Issues in Discourse


Maratea, Italy

13th - 15th April, 1993


Prof. Donia Scott (ITRI, University of Brighton)
Dr. Eduard Hovy (ISI, University of Southern California)


Researchers of computational discourse are currently grappling with issues
that in many cases are also being addressed, and perhaps even solved, in
other subdisciplines of linguistics. The aim of this workshop is to
facilitate cross-disciplinary interactions, and simply to learn from one
another. The intention is not to produce a grand new theory, but rather to
inform one another about the facets of the problem and available methods of
addressing them. Among the issues to be discussed are:

1. Multi-Party Discourse:

The collaborative construction of a coherent discourse involves several
factors that complicate the single-speaker picture. How well do current
theories account for these phenomena? Can they be used in computational
systems? What needs to be added, and how can the open questions be
addressed in testable ways?

2. Discourse Segmentation:

Coherent discourse is structured. What does this structure look like? How
are the structural segments defined? What are the relevant units of
segmentation? How are their boundaries signalled, and what information do
the boundaries constrain? What role does communicative intentionality play
in the segmentation?

3. Intersegment Relatedness:

Discourse segments are related in particular ways to give structure to the
discourse. What is the nature of the intersegment relations? What relations
do people use, and how can suggested relations be validated? Is it possible
to construct grammars of discourse using these relations?

4. Information in Discourse:

Information is not presented randomly within discourse segments, and
segments themselves are not randomly ordered. What governs the flow of
information? What is the difference between notions such as Topic, Theme,
Focus, and Given? How does information presentation (by the speaker)
influence information access (of the hearer)?

5. Discourse Structure and Syntactic Form:

How do discourse and syntactic structures relate? How do they constrain one
another? How can one identify correlations between them and specify the
correlations as rules for, say, automated discourse generation?

6. Tools, Techniques, and Experimental Methodologies:

How can theories of discourse be empirically verified? All the above
mentioned topics can benefit from the development and application of
objective testing techniques. What techniques and methodologies exist? What
aspects of discourse do they best address?

Principal Participants:

Nicholas Asher (Univ. of Austin)
Robert de Beaugrande (Univ. of Vienna)
Wallace Chafe (Univ. of California)
Herb Clark (Stanford Univ)
Eva Hajicova (Charles Univ.)
Eduard Hovy (ISI/USC)
Julia Hirschberg (Bell Laboratories)
Jerry Hobbs (SRI Menlo Park)
Steve Isard(Univ. of Edinburgh)
Hans Kamp (Univ. Stuttgart)
Julia Lavid (Univ. of Madrid)
James Martin (Univ. of Sidney)
Manny Schegloff (Univ. of California)
John Sinclair (Univ. of Birmingham)
Donia Scott (ITRI, Univ. of Brighton)
Deidre Wilson (Univ. College London)

The total number of participants will be limited to about 50.


The proceedings of this workshop will be published in the NATO ASI series.


The workshop site, Acquafredda di Matatea (Italy), is situated on the coast
in the Golf of Policastro, one of the most beautiful places in the
Mediterranean. The nearest international airports are in Naples (200km) and
Rome (400km). There are fast trains to Maratea from Rome and Naples.


The cost of the hotel, including meals, will be LIT 400,000 (approx. $300
or 200) per person, based on double occupancy. There is a surcharge of LIT
100,000 for single occupancy.


There is no registration fee for members of academic institutions and a
nominal fee of LIT 100,000 ($75, 50) for other participants.


Due to the nature of the workshop, only a limited number of participants
can be accomodated. Interested participants should send a short vita,
mentioning their present nationality, and a short statement of
(a) their approach to and perspectives on each of the discussion issues
outlined above and
(b) which among these is the most burning issue(s) for them.
A deposit of 100 will be required, issued as a cheque (in pounds sterling)
payable to "NATO ARW". The deposit is returnable to non-accepted
applicants. Participants must stay for the entire period of the workshop.

Closing date for applications is 31 December 1992. No special application
form is required.
Successful applicants will be informed by 18 January 1993.

Applications and requests for further information should be directed to:
Dereen Taylor, Research Administrator, IT Research Institute, University of
Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4AT
tel: (+44 -273) 642900
fax: (+44 -273) 606653
email: burning.issues@itri.bton.ac.uk