Introduction to the Special Issue on Intelligent User Interfaces. (Articles)

Article excerpt

This special issue on intelligent user interfaces features a panorama of projects that highlight recent advances in the state of the art. Most of these projects have been presented at the premiere forum for intelligent user interface (IUI) research, the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces. The articles in this issue share three common themes. First, they describe projects that explore the boundaries of the man-machine interface. As a result, they examine issues that span both AI and human-computer interaction (HCI). Second, the articles all describe implemented systems. Although IUI work is evolving a strong theoretical basis, much of the cutting-edge activities take an "experimental systems" approach that revolves around iterative design, implementation, and evaluation of IUIs with human subjects. Third, the articles describe task-oriented IUIs, that is, IUIs designed to support a specific family of tasks such as planning or tutoring.

The issue opens with three articles that present long-term efforts to create "conversational" IUIs. The first article, by Chuck Rich, Candy Sidner, and Neal Lesh, describes a project at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory to create a collaborative IUI that exploits the metaphor of conversation. Based on a rich theory of collaborative discourse, the COLLAGEN project explores the complex theoretical and engineering issues in devising a full-scale application-independent framework for collaborative IUI. Second, James Allen and his colleagues describe their decade-long work on spoken dialogue interfaces. Illustrating their discussion with the TRAINS and TRIPS systems, they explore the complexities of spoken dialogue and present solutions that have evolved in their lab. Third, Art Graesser, Kurt VanLehn, and their colleagues describe the features of complex multiturn tutorial dialogues. They present the joint work under way in their laboratories on the AUTOTUTOR, ANDES, ATLAS, and WHY2 systems, perhaps the most sophisticated tutorial dialogue projects in the intelligent tutoring systems community.

The second half of the issue features four articles that take an agent-oriented approach to IUIs. First, Elisabeth Andre and Thomas Rist describe work at DFKI on animated agents, which are lifelike characters that communicate multimodally with users in real time. Their character-based presentation research, which began with the Personalized Plan-Based Presenter (PPP) Project, exploits a flexible planning framework that supports the full range of communication, even in highly interactive multicharacter environments. …