Andrey Malinin


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Uncertainty Measures in Neural Belief Tracking and the Effects on Dialogue Policy Performance
Carel van Niekerk | Andrey Malinin | Christian Geishauser | Michael Heck | Hsien-chin Lin | Nurul Lubis | Shutong Feng | Milica Gasic
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The ability to identify and resolve uncertainty is crucial for the robustness of a dialogue system. Indeed, this has been confirmed empirically on systems that utilise Bayesian approaches to dialogue belief tracking. However, such systems consider only confidence estimates and have difficulty scaling to more complex settings. Neural dialogue systems, on the other hand, rarely take uncertainties into account. They are therefore overconfident in their decisions and less robust. Moreover, the performance of the tracking task is often evaluated in isolation, without consideration of its effect on the downstream policy optimisation. We propose the use of different uncertainty measures in neural belief tracking. The effects of these measures on the downstream task of policy optimisation are evaluated by adding selected measures of uncertainty to the feature space of the policy and training policies through interaction with a user simulator. Both human and simulated user results show that incorporating these measures leads to improvements both of the performance and of the robustness of the downstream dialogue policy. This highlights the importance of developing neural dialogue belief trackers that take uncertainty into account.

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Multi-Sentence Resampling: A Simple Approach to Alleviate Dataset Length Bias and Beam-Search Degradation
Ivan Provilkov | Andrey Malinin
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is known to suffer from a beam-search problem: after a certain point, increasing beam size causes an overall drop in translation quality. This effect is especially pronounced for long sentences. While much work was done analyzing this phenomenon, primarily for autoregressive NMT models, there is still no consensus on its underlying cause. In this work, we analyze errors that cause major quality degradation with large beams in NMT and Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). We show that a factor that strongly contributes to the quality degradation with large beams is dataset length-bias - NMT datasets are strongly biased towards short sentences. To mitigate this issue, we propose a new data augmentation technique – Multi-Sentence Resampling (MSR). This technique extends the training examples by concatenating several sentences from the original dataset to make a long training example. We demonstrate that MSR significantly reduces degradation with growing beam size and improves final translation quality on the IWSTL15 En-Vi, IWSTL17 En-Fr, and WMT14 En-De datasets.


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Incorporating Uncertainty into Deep Learning for Spoken Language Assessment
Andrey Malinin | Anton Ragni | Kate Knill | Mark Gales
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

There is a growing demand for automatic assessment of spoken English proficiency. These systems need to handle large variations in input data owing to the wide range of candidate skill levels and L1s, and errors from ASR. Some candidates will be a poor match to the training data set, undermining the validity of the predicted grade. For high stakes tests it is essential for such systems not only to grade well, but also to provide a measure of their uncertainty in their predictions, enabling rejection to human graders. Previous work examined Gaussian Process (GP) graders which, though successful, do not scale well with large data sets. Deep Neural Network (DNN) may also be used to provide uncertainty using Monte-Carlo Dropout (MCD). This paper proposes a novel method to yield uncertainty and compares it to GPs and DNNs with MCD. The proposed approach explicitly teaches a DNN to have low uncertainty on training data and high uncertainty on generated artificial data. On experiments conducted on data from the Business Language Testing Service (BULATS), the proposed approach is found to outperform GPs and DNNs with MCD in uncertainty-based rejection whilst achieving comparable grading performance.


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Off-topic Response Detection for Spontaneous Spoken English Assessment
Andrey Malinin | Rogier Van Dalen | Kate Knill | Yu Wang | Mark Gales
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)