Aldo Lipani


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A Survey on Asking Clarification Questions Datasets in Conversational Systems
Hossein A. Rahmani | Xi Wang | Yue Feng | Qiang Zhang | Emine Yilmaz | Aldo Lipani
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The ability to understand a user’s underlying needs is critical for conversational systems, especially with limited input from users in a conversation. Thus, in such a domain, Asking Clarification Questions (ACQs) to reveal users’ true intent from their queries or utterances arise as an essential task. However, it is noticeable that a key limitation of the existing ACQs studies is their incomparability, from inconsistent use of data, distinct experimental setups and evaluation strategies. Therefore, in this paper, to assist the development of ACQs techniques, we comprehensively analyse the current ACQs research status, which offers a detailed comparison of publicly available datasets, and discusses the applied evaluation metrics, joined with benchmarks for multiple ACQs-related tasks. In particular, given a thorough analysis of the ACQs task, we discuss a number of corresponding research directions for the investigation of ACQs as well as the development of conversational systems.

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Lexical Entrainment for Conversational Systems
Zhengxiang Shi | Procheta Sen | Aldo Lipani
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Conversational agents have become ubiquitous in assisting with daily tasks, and are expected to possess human-like features. One such feature is lexical entrainment (LE), a phenomenon in which speakers in human-human conversations tend to naturally and subconsciously align their lexical choices with those of their interlocutors, leading to more successful and engaging conversations. As an example, if a digital assistant replies “Your appointment for Jinling Noodle Pub is at 7 pm” to the question “When is my reservation for Jinling Noodle Bar today?”, it may feel as though the assistant is trying to correct the speaker, whereas a response of “Your reservation for Jinling Noodle Baris at 7 pm” would likely be perceived as more positive. This highlights the importance of LE in establishing a shared terminology for maximum clarity and reducing ambiguity in conversations. However, we demonstrate in this work that current response generation models do not adequately address this crucial human-like phenomenon. To address this, we propose a new dataset, named MultiWOZ-ENTR, and a measure for LE for conversational systems. Additionally, we suggest a way to explicitly integrate LE into conversational systems with two new tasks, a LE extraction task and a LE generation task. We also present two baseline approaches for the LE extraction task, which aim to detect LE expressions from dialogue contexts

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“Dr LLM, what do I have?”: The Impact of User Beliefs and Prompt Formulation on Health Diagnoses
Wojciech Kusa | Edoardo Mosca | Aldo Lipani
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on NLP for Medical Conversations


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Dynamic Schema Graph Fusion Network for Multi-Domain Dialogue State Tracking
Yue Feng | Aldo Lipani | Fanghua Ye | Qiang Zhang | Emine Yilmaz
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Dialogue State Tracking (DST) aims to keep track of users’ intentions during the course of a conversation. In DST, modelling the relations among domains and slots is still an under-studied problem. Existing approaches that have considered such relations generally fall short in: (1) fusing prior slot-domain membership relations and dialogue-aware dynamic slot relations explicitly, and (2) generalizing to unseen domains. To address these issues, we propose a novel Dynamic Schema Graph Fusion Network (DSGFNet), which generates a dynamic schema graph to explicitly fuse the prior slot-domain membership relations and dialogue-aware dynamic slot relations. It also uses the schemata to facilitate knowledge transfer to new domains. DSGFNet consists of a dialogue utterance encoder, a schema graph encoder, a dialogue-aware schema graph evolving network, and a schema graph enhanced dialogue state decoder. Empirical results on benchmark datasets (i.e., SGD, MultiWOZ2.1, and MultiWOZ2.2), show that DSGFNet outperforms existing methods.

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Learning to Execute Actions or Ask Clarification Questions
Zhengxiang Shi | Yue Feng | Aldo Lipani
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Collaborative tasks are ubiquitous activities where a form of communication is required in order to reach a joint goal. Collaborative building is one of such tasks. We wish to develop an intelligent builder agent in a simulated building environment (Minecraft) that can build whatever users wish to build by just talking to the agent. In order to achieve this goal, such agents need to be able to take the initiative by asking clarification questions when further information is needed. Existing works on Minecraft Corpus Dataset only learn to execute instructions neglecting the importance of asking for clarifications. In this paper, we extend the Minecraft Corpus Dataset by annotating all builder utterances into eight types, including clarification questions, and propose a new builder agent model capable of determining when to ask or execute instructions. Experimental results show that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance on the collaborative building task with a substantial improvement. We also define two new tasks, the learning to ask task and the joint learning task. The latter consists of solving both collaborating building and learning to ask tasks jointly.


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Subsequence Based Deep Active Learning for Named Entity Recognition
Puria Radmard | Yassir Fathullah | Aldo Lipani
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Active Learning (AL) has been successfully applied to Deep Learning in order to drastically reduce the amount of data required to achieve high performance. Previous works have shown that lightweight architectures for Named Entity Recognition (NER) can achieve optimal performance with only 25% of the original training data. However, these methods do not exploit the sequential nature of language and the heterogeneity of uncertainty within each instance, requiring the labelling of whole sentences. Additionally, this standard method requires that the annotator has access to the full sentence when labelling. In this work, we overcome these limitations by allowing the AL algorithm to query subsequences within sentences, and propagate their labels to other sentences. We achieve highly efficient results on OntoNotes 5.0, only requiring 13% of the original training data, and CoNLL 2003, requiring only 27%. This is an improvement of 39% and 37% compared to querying full sentences.