The Alex Dialogue Systems Framework

The Alex Dialogue Systems Framework is named after the famous parrot Alex.

This framework is being developed by the dialogue systems group at ÚFAL. The purpose of this work is to facilitate research into and development of spoken dialogue systems.

The main goals are:

  • to provide baseline components needed for building a spoken dialogue system (SDS)

  • to provide example implementations of SDSs for several domains

  • to provide tools for processing dialogue system interactions logs, e.g. for audio transcription, semantic annotation, or SDSs evaluation

The source code is freely available at under the Apache 2.0 licence.

Example – Public Transport Information, Czech 

An example of a dialogue system using the ALEX framework is available at the free telephone number +420 800 899 998. This application provides information about public transport connections in Czech Republic in the Czech language.  Just say (in Czech) your origin and destination stop and the application will find and tell you about the connection. You can also specify a departure or arrival time if necessary.

You can also:

  • ask for help
  • ask for a "restart" of the dialogue and start the conversation again
  • end the call - for example, by saying "Good bye."
  • ask for repetition of the last sentence
  • confirm or reject questions
  • ask about the departure or destination station, or confirm it
  • ask for the number of transits
  • ask for the departure or arrival time
  • ask for an alternative connection
  • ask for a repetition of the previous connection, the first connection, the second connection, etc.

In addition, the application provides also information about:

  • the current time
  • weather forecast

Alex Translate (+420 277 278 178)

Alex Translate is an experimental English-to-Czech speech translation service. Its intended usecase is the situation when a foreign tourist in the Czech Republic needs to communicate something. Just call +420 277 278 178, say a sentence in English and Alex Translate will speak it back to you (or your party) in Czech.

The underlying machine translation system is still tuned for the translation of news text. We will be gradually adapting the model for spoken language of the domains needed by our intended usecase.

Significant changes are also planned for the ASR (automatic speech recognition). One of the core missing capabilities is to be able to recognize Czech names (e.g. monuments) in English ASR.

The work on Alex Translate has been supported by the grant FP7-ICT-2011-7-288487 (MosesCore).