Aishwarya Padmakumar


2022

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On the Limits of Evaluating Embodied Agent Model Generalization Using Validation Sets
Hyounghun Kim | Aishwarya Padmakumar | Di Jin | Mohit Bansal | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

Natural language guided embodied task completion is a challenging problem since it requires understanding natural language instructions, aligning them with egocentric visual observations, and choosing appropriate actions to execute in the environment to produce desired changes. We experiment with augmenting a transformer model for this task with modules that effectively utilize a wider field of view and learn to choose whether the next step requires a navigation or manipulation action. We observed that the proposed modules resulted in improved, and in fact state-of-the-art performance on an unseen validation set of a popular benchmark dataset, ALFRED. However, our best model selected using the unseen validation set underperforms on the unseen test split of ALFRED, indicating that performance on the unseen validation set may not in itself be a sufficient indicator of whether model improvements generalize to unseen test sets. We highlight this result as we believe it may be a wider phenomenon in machine learning tasks but primarily noticeable only in benchmarks that limit evaluations on test splits, and highlights the need to modify benchmark design to better account for variance in model performance.

2021

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Generative Conversational Networks
Alexandros Papangelis | Karthik Gopalakrishnan | Aishwarya Padmakumar | Seokhwan Kim | Gokhan Tur | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Inspired by recent work in meta-learning and generative teaching networks, we propose a framework called Generative Conversational Networks, in which conversational agents learn to generate their own labelled training data (given some seed data) and then train themselves from that data to perform a given task. We use reinforcement learning to optimize the data generation process where the reward signal is the agent’s performance on the task. The task can be any language-related task, from intent detection to full task-oriented conversations. In this work, we show that our approach is able to generalise from seed data and performs well in limited data and limited computation settings, with significant gains for intent detection and slot tagging across multiple datasets: ATIS, TOD, SNIPS, and Restaurants8k. We show an average improvement of 35% in intent detection and 21% in slot tagging over a baseline model trained from the seed data. We also conduct an analysis of the novelty of the generated data and provide generated examples for intent detection, slot tagging, and non-goal oriented conversations.

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Proceedings of Second International Combined Workshop on Spatial Language Understanding and Grounded Communication for Robotics
Malihe Alikhani | Valts Blukis | Parisa Kordjamshidi | Aishwarya Padmakumar | Hao Tan
Proceedings of Second International Combined Workshop on Spatial Language Understanding and Grounded Communication for Robotics

2018

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Learning a Policy for Opportunistic Active Learning
Aishwarya Padmakumar | Peter Stone | Raymond Mooney
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Active learning identifies data points to label that are expected to be the most useful in improving a supervised model. Opportunistic active learning incorporates active learning into interactive tasks that constrain possible queries during interactions. Prior work has shown that opportunistic active learning can be used to improve grounding of natural language descriptions in an interactive object retrieval task. In this work, we use reinforcement learning for such an object retrieval task, to learn a policy that effectively trades off task completion with model improvement that would benefit future tasks.

2017

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Integrated Learning of Dialog Strategies and Semantic Parsing
Aishwarya Padmakumar | Jesse Thomason | Raymond J. Mooney
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

Natural language understanding and dialog management are two integral components of interactive dialog systems. Previous research has used machine learning techniques to individually optimize these components, with different forms of direct and indirect supervision. We present an approach to integrate the learning of both a dialog strategy using reinforcement learning, and a semantic parser for robust natural language understanding, using only natural dialog interaction for supervision. Experimental results on a simulated task of robot instruction demonstrate that joint learning of both components improves dialog performance over learning either of these components alone.