Every day, millions of people use natural-language interfaces such as Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Alexa and others via in-home devices, phones, or messaging channels such as Messenger, Slack, and Skype, among others. The goal of this workshop is to advance the use of conversational natural language to query structured databases.
Building natural language interfaces for databases has been one of the "holy grails" of the database community since the early days of databases. In recent years, considerable progress has been made in this direction. Conversational interfaces are even more challenging since they need to keep track of context and deal with human short cuts.

Given the immense importance of such interfaces and the challenges that lie ahead in making such systems widely useful, building conversational interfaces over data has attracted interest from several areas: databases, machine learning, natural language processing and understanding and human-computer interaction forming a rich space of solutions.
The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners in this area, to clarify impactful research problems, share findings from large-scale real-world deployments, and generate new ideas for future lines of research. We seek papers that address any aspect of any of these issues.

Organizers and Chairs

  • H.V Jagadish, University of Michigan
  • Georgia Koutrika, Athena Research Center
  • Fatma Ozcan, IBM Research


  • Dilek Hakkani-Tur, Senior Principal Scientist at Amazon Alexa AI
  • Nikola Mrkšić, Co-founder and CEO, PolyAI


  • - Understanding user intent and query semantics
  • - Explorations of ambiguity and other points of failure
  • - Contextualization (understanding the context of a query)
  • - Personalization (adapting to the individual posing the query)
  • - Ontologies, and other high-level data abstractions
  • - Entity matching
  • - intermediate representations
  • - Indexing techniques and other access methods
  • - Interoperability of conversational systems
  • - Portability of use history and personal profile
  • - Bootstrapping conversational workspaces
  • - Data driven conversation design
  • - Evaluation
  • - NL explanations
  • - Dialogue-based interaction, chatbots

Important Dates

Paper Submission: May 10 May 24, 2019 by 5pm PDT
Notification of Acceptance: June 15 June 20, 2019
Camera-ready Submission: June 30, 2019
Workshop Date: Friday, August 30, 2019

Submission Guidelines

Papers should be formatted according to the VLDB conference's camera-ready format, as embodied in the document templates. The standard paper length is 8 pages, including references and any appendices. If authors wish to preserve their ability to publish more complete versions of their work at other venues, they may choose to submit a 4-page paper instead. While this shorter paper will naturally have fewer details, it will be reviewed with the same quality standard as the standard-length paper, in terms of motivation, novelty and so on.

All accepted papers will have a presentation slot at the workshop. At least one author of every accepted paper is expected to attend the workshop to present the paper.

The conference management tool for the submission of abstracts and papers is accessible at: https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/CAST2019