Task-Oriented Dialogue as Dataflow Synthesis

Jacob Andreas, John Bufe, David Burkett, Charles Chen, Josh Clausman, Jean Crawford, Kate Crim, Jordan DeLoach, Leah Dorner, Jason Eisner, Hao Fang, Alan Guo, David Hall, Kristin Hayes, Kellie Hill, Diana Ho, Wendy Iwaszuk, Smriti Jha, Dan Klein, Jayant Krishnamurthy, Theo Lanman, Percy Liang, Christopher H. Lin, Ilya Lintsbakh, Andy McGovern, Aleksandr Nisnevich, Adam Pauls, Dmitrij Petters, Brent Read, Dan Roth, Subhro Roy, Jesse Rusak, Beth Short, Div Slomin, Ben Snyder, Stephon Striplin, Yu Su, Zachary Tellman, Sam Thomson, Andrei Vorobev, Izabela Witoszko, Jason Wolfe, Abby Wray, Yuchen Zhang, Alexander Zotov


Abstract
We describe an approach to task-oriented dialogue in which dialogue state is represented as a dataflow graph. A dialogue agent maps each user utterance to a program that extends this graph. Programs include metacomputation operators for reference and revision that reuse dataflow fragments from previous turns. Our graph-based state enables the expression and manipulation of complex user intents, and explicit metacomputation makes these intents easier for learned models to predict. We introduce a new dataset, SMCalFlow, featuring complex dialogues about events, weather, places, and people. Experiments show that dataflow graphs and metacomputation substantially improve representability and predictability in these natural dialogues. Additional experiments on the MultiWOZ dataset show that our dataflow representation enables an otherwise off-the-shelf sequence-to-sequence model to match the best existing task-specific state tracking model. The SMCalFlow dataset, code for replicating experiments, and a public leaderboard are available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/dataflow-based-dialogue-semantic-machines.
Anthology ID:
2020.tacl-1.36
Volume:
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8
Month:
Year:
2020
Address:
Cambridge, MA
Venue:
TACL
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Publisher:
MIT Press
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Pages:
556–571
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URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2020.tacl-1.36
DOI:
10.1162/tacl_a_00333
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Cite (ACL):
Jacob Andreas, John Bufe, David Burkett, Charles Chen, Josh Clausman, Jean Crawford, Kate Crim, Jordan DeLoach, Leah Dorner, Jason Eisner, Hao Fang, Alan Guo, David Hall, Kristin Hayes, Kellie Hill, Diana Ho, Wendy Iwaszuk, Smriti Jha, Dan Klein, et al.. 2020. Task-Oriented Dialogue as Dataflow Synthesis. Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 8:556–571.
Cite (Informal):
Task-Oriented Dialogue as Dataflow Synthesis (Andreas et al., TACL 2020)
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PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2020.tacl-1.36.pdf