Manchester, 18-22 August, 2008The 22nd International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Outline· Structure· Prerequisites· Instructors
In this tutorial, we will present an overview of Regulus, an Open Source toolkit for building grammar-based speech-enabled systems, that is explicitly designed to address these issues. Regulus sits on top of the Nuance platform, and provides tools which support compilation of linguistically motivated feature grammars into Nuance-compatible speech recognisers. Small feature grammars can be written by hand. More substantial grammars are usually based on existing Regulus resource grammars, which can be automatically specialised into efficient domain-specific phrasal grammars using Regulus tools. The specialisation is driven by domain corpora, which initially can be as small as 50 to 100 examples; as corpus data accumulates, coverage of the domain-specific grammar improves. The same data can also be fed into underlying Nuance utilities to perform statistical tuning of the generated recogniser. The toolkit also includes other compilers, which can be used to transform Regulus grammars into normal parsers and generators.
Regulus provides a integrated development environment which allows development of grammars and grammar-based applications in both text and speech mode. Normal working practise is that the developer will first debug her grammars and other rule-sets in text mode. At any point, she can compile the grammar into a recogniser, and test the resulting live speech system without leaving the development environment. This ability to switch seamlessly between text and speech views of the system greatly simplifies the development cycle.
The development environment contains extensive support both for spoken dialogue applications, based on a version of information state update semantics, and also for interlingua-centered speech translation. It also contains tools for constructing embedded help systems, driven by back-up statistical recognisers, which give users active feedback on the grammar's limitations, and lead them into its coverage. Evaluations we have carried out show that grammar-based applications equipped with help facilities of this kind are generally perceived as user-friendly and easy to learn.
The tutorial will cover enough ground that attendees should then be able to download material from the Regulus website and use it to build simple speech recognisers, spoken dialogue systems and speech translators. Regulus makes it easy to build toy systems, and is thus very suitable for teaching purposes; we have already used it as the core technology for courses at UC Santa Cruz and Geneva University. It is also appropriate for serious language engineering, and has been used to construct substantial speech-enabled applications. These include NASA's Clarissa, which has been tested on the International Space Station, and Geneva University's MedSLT, a multi-lingual speech translator for doctor-patient examination dialogues.
Regulus is described in detail in our book Putting Linguistics into Speech Recognition (CSLI Press, 2006) which received positive reviews from Computational Linguistics and the Journal of Natural Language Engineering.
Approximately two thirds of the tutorial consists of material covered in the book; the other third presents new work.
Beth Ann Hockey
Mail Stop 19-26
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffet Field CA 94035, USA
Email: bahockey at ucsc.edu
TIM/ISSCO, University of Geneva
40 bvd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Email: Emmanuel.Rayner at issco.unige.ch
Dr. Manny Rayner has been the lead developer on the Regulus project since its inception, and has held senior positions at SRI International, NASA Ames Research Center, and several speech and language startups. He has worked actively on numerous areas of speech and language technology, including language modelling, speech translation, spoken dialogue systems, machine learning, grammar engineering, logic programming and construction of development environments for speech and language systems. He has over 100 refereed publications, including books on the Spoken Language Translator and Regulus systems.
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