Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 201600077
Conversational Agents
Course info
Course module201600077
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. M. Theune
prof.dr. D.K.J. Heylen
Contactperson for the course
dr. M. Theune
dr. M. Theune
Academic year2017
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
Learning goals
After following this course, the student can independently:
  • describe and discuss the main dialogue theories and analyze observed conversational behaviors in theoretical terms
  • describe and discuss the state-of-the-art in the automatic analysis and generation of conversational behaviors by (unimodal or multimodal) dialogue systems
  • explain the architecture and working of (unimodal or multimodal) dialogue systems and evaluate specific systems
  • use tools to annotate verbal and nonverbal conversational behaviors
  • apply reliability analysis to annotations of conversational behaviors
  • design, implement or simulate and experimentally evaluate models of specific conversational behaviors
Prerequisites At the beginning of the course the student is expected to:
•           Be interested in natural language, face-to-face interaction between humans and between humans and machines
•           Be familiar with basic concepts and methods of natural language processing (NLP), such as part-of-speech classes and part-of-speech tagging, the use of linguistic corpora, grammars and parsing (as explained in the course 201600074Natural Language Processing)
•           Be capable to apply NLP methods in new situations
•           Be capable to independently find relevant literature in addition to the course material.

Course description. In this course, attention will be given to different verbal and nonverbal behavioral characteristics, like speech, intonation, gaze and gestures that humans show when communicating with both other people and machines. This behavior is then related to different dialogue functions, including turn-taking, addressing others, and backchanneling, that give shape to the communication process.
The student has to make 2 or 3 homework assignments at least one of which is an individual assignment about a specific theme in the theory of conversational interaction and at least one is a small group assignment where the students work on the development of a multi-modal corpus of natural human human or human machine interaction, the development of a simple dialogue system or the evaluation of such a system. The topic of the assignments depends on running research projects and challenges.
The final grade will be determined by the weighted average of the two or three homework assignments the students will have to make.
Assumed previous knowledge
Natural Language Processing 201600074
Required materials
Recommended materials
Herbert H. Clark, Using Language. Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN 0521567459
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes


Kies de Nederlandse taal