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Trains

The TRAINS project and its successors form one of the longest running research efforts on practical spoken dialogue: conversation undertaken with a specific task in mind.

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The TRAINS Project: Natural Spoken Dialogue and Interactive Planning

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The TRAINS project and its successor, TRIPS, form one of the longest running research efforts on "practical" spoken dialogue: conversation undertaken with a specific task in mind. The TRAINS project had several goals:

One of the early achievements of the TRAINS project was the collection of a corpus of task-oriented spoken dialogues, the TRAINS corpus, now available through the LDC.
Over the course of the TRAINS project, a series of demonstration systems were built. The domains for these systems involved routing and scheduling of freight trains, hence the project name. Early systems, such as TRAINS-91 and TRAINS-93 systems, were limited in scope but were important demonstrations of the "doability" of spoken dialogue systems. (These systems are described in James F. Allen et. al., ``The TRAINS Project: A case study in building a conversational planning agent,'' Journal of Experimental and Theoretical AI, 7(1995), 7-48.)

early TRAINS map

Map of an early TRAINS domain
The TRAINS-95 and TRAINS-96 systems were more robust. (Evaluations were performed of these systems; one is described in Teresa Sikorski and James Allen, ``A Task-Based Evaluation of the TRAINS-95 Dialogue System,'' Proceedings of the ECAI Workshop on Dialogue Processing in Spoken Language Systems, August, 1996.)

later TRAINS map

Map of a later TRAINS domain
Several dissertations came out of the TRAINS project:

Details about TRAINS are available in several papers. A good overview is the following:

A more detailed description is:

For more information, visit our Publications site.
 
TRAINS was funded in part by: ARPA and the USAF Rome Laboratory under research contract no. F30602-95-1-0025
The Office of Naval Research under research contract no. N0014-95-1-1088
The National Science Foundation under grant number IRI-9623665