The TRAINS project: A case study in building a conversational planning agent

James F. Allen, Lenhart K. Schubert, George Ferguson, Peter Heeman, Chung Hee Hwang, Tsuneaki Kato, Marc Light, Nathaniel Martin, Bradford Miller, Massimo Poesio, David R. Traum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


The TRAINS project is an effort to build a conversationally proficient planning assistant. A key part of the project is the construction of the TRAINS system, which provides the research platform for a wide range of issues in natural language understanding, mixed-initiative planning systems, and representing and reasoning about time, actions and events. Four years have now passed since the beginning of the project. Each year a demonstration system has been produced that focused on a dialogue that illustrates particular aspects of the research. The commitment to building complete integrated systems is a significant overhead on the research, but it is considered essential to guarantee that the results constitute real progress in the field. This paper describes the goals of the project, and the experience with the effort so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-48
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Theoretical Computer Science


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