November 4-6, Westin Arlington Gateway, Washington DC Metro Area

Our schedule is posted here.


Much of the success of natural language interaction is caused by the participants’ mutual understanding of the circumstances surrounding the communication.  These circumstances range from reminiscing about a shared experience, such as a birthday party, to coordinating fire-fighting efforts amongst a team using joint beliefs about mutual capabilities.  This mutual understanding of perceived context is termed “common ground,” and is made up of all of the background and shared information that will lead to the eventual success of the communication.  Some measure of common ground is used in most, if not all, successful interactions between human actors.  For humans to have a convincing and beneficial experience interacting with intelligent agents, the agents must have mechanisms that support the fundamentals of common ground.  Otherwise, the consequence may be unsuccessful and incomplete interactions. 

This symposium aims to bring together researchers from robotics, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, computational linguistics, and cognitive modeling to share their diverse perspectives on common ground and its component factors.  This investigation of how existing work explicitly or implicitly uses aspects of common ground will bring us closer to a practical approach for a complete common ground in intelligent, computational agents.  Work to be presented may consist of currently implemented applications that contain common ground components, theoretical formalisms of these components, proposed frameworks, and work in progress.


Components of common ground include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Background knowledge
  • World knowledge
  • Presuppositions
  • Mutual knowledge
  • Mutual beliefs
  • Beliefs about beliefs
  • Conversational maxims

Examples of how these components may have been incorporated into current work include:

  • Building of shared histories between actors
  • Representations of beliefs or beliefs about beliefs
  • Identifying and representing suppositions and presuppositions
  • Reasoning about other actors’ beliefs
  • Creating untruthful or deceptive common ground
  • Formalizations of any common ground component
  • Agents or models which use common ground components in interaction
  • Discourse or dialogue models which use some aspect of common ground
  • Extraction of perlocutionary actions or effects from utterances
  • Inferring common ground
  • Using common ground to ground referents

Organizing Committee

Sam Blisard (Naval Research Laboratory,, Will Bridewell (Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research,, Wende Frost (Naval Research Laboratory,, Arthi Murugesan (Naval Research Laboratory,, Candace Sidner (Worcester Polytechnic Institute,, Alan Wagner (Georgia Tech Research Institute,