Professor Steve Young

Steve Young

University position


Professor Steve Young is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Engineering


Home page (personal home page)

Research Themes

Systems and Computational Neuroscience

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


My primary interest is in adaptive learning in spoken dialogue systems. This currently involves modelling human machine dialogues using the framework of Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs). The research issues addressed include user simulation to drive reinforcement learning, scaling POMDPs to make them tractable in real-world problems, tight integration of ASR and semantic decoding to provide noise robustness and rapid on-line adaptation. In the future, it is hoped to further investigate the behaviours learnt by these systems and how they relate to and differ from observed human behaviours.

Research Focus


reinforcement learning

spoken dialogue systems

speech recognition

Markov Decision Processes

human-computer interaction

Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance


Computational modelling


United Kingdom

Oliver Lemon Web:

Associated News Items

Key publications

Williams JD, Young SJ (2007), “Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes for Spoken Dialog Systems” Computer Speech and Language 21(2):231-422

Young SJ, Schatzmann J, Weilhammer K, Ye H (2007), “The Hidden Information State Approach to Dialog Management” ICASSP 2007:Honolulu, Hawaii

Young SJ (2006), “Using POMDPs for Dialog Management. IEEE/ACL Workshop on Spoken Language Technology (SLT 2006)” Aruba