Avik Ray


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Enhancing the generalization for Intent Classification and Out-of-Domain Detection in SLU
Yilin Shen | Yen-Chang Hsu | Avik Ray | Hongxia Jin
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)

Intent classification is a major task in spoken language understanding (SLU). Since most models are built with pre-collected in-domain (IND) training utterances, their ability to detect unsupported out-of-domain (OOD) utterances has a critical effect in practical use. Recent works have shown that using extra data and labels can improve the OOD detection performance, yet it could be costly to collect such data. This paper proposes to train a model with only IND data while supporting both IND intent classification and OOD detection. Our method designs a novel domain-regularized module (DRM) to reduce the overconfident phenomenon of a vanilla classifier, achieving a better generalization in both cases. Besides, DRM can be used as a drop-in replacement for the last layer in any neural network-based intent classifier, providing a low-cost strategy for a significant improvement. The evaluation on four datasets shows that our method built on BERT and RoBERTa models achieves state-of-the-art performance against existing approaches and the strong baselines we created for the comparisons.


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Generating Dialogue Responses from a Semantic Latent Space
Wei-Jen Ko | Avik Ray | Yilin Shen | Hongxia Jin
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Existing open-domain dialogue generation models are usually trained to mimic the gold response in the training set using cross-entropy loss on the vocabulary. However, a good response does not need to resemble the gold response, since there are multiple possible responses to a given prompt. In this work, we hypothesize that the current models are unable to integrate information from multiple semantically similar valid responses of a prompt, resulting in the generation of generic and uninformative responses. To address this issue, we propose an alternative to the end-to-end classification on vocabulary. We learn the pair relationship between the prompts and responses as a regression task on a latent space instead. In our novel dialog generation model, the representations of semantically related sentences are close to each other on the latent space. Human evaluation showed that learning the task on a continuous space can generate responses that are both relevant and informative.


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Fast Domain Adaptation of Semantic Parsers via Paraphrase Attention
Avik Ray | Yilin Shen | Hongxia Jin
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)

Semantic parsers are used to convert user’s natural language commands to executable logical form in intelligent personal agents. Labeled datasets required to train such parsers are expensive to collect, and are never comprehensive. As a result, for effective post-deployment domain adaptation and personalization, semantic parsers are continuously retrained to learn new user vocabulary and paraphrase variety. However, state-of-the art attention based neural parsers are slow to retrain which inhibits real time domain adaptation. Secondly, these parsers do not leverage numerous paraphrases already present in the training dataset. Designing parsers which can simultaneously maintain high accuracy and fast retraining time is challenging. In this paper, we present novel paraphrase attention based sequence-to-sequence/tree parsers which support fast near real time retraining. In addition, our parsers often boost accuracy by jointly modeling the semantic dependencies of paraphrases. We evaluate our model on benchmark datasets to demonstrate upto 9X speedup in retraining time compared to existing parsers, as well as achieving state-of-the-art accuracy.

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SkillBot: Towards Automatic Skill Development via User Demonstration
Yilin Shen | Avik Ray | Hongxia Jin | Sandeep Nama
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Demonstrations)

We present SkillBot that takes the first step to enable end users to teach new skills in personal assistants (PA). Unlike existing PA products that need software developers to build new skills via IDE tools, an end user can use SkillBot to build new skills just by naturally demonstrating the task on device screen. SkillBot automatically develops a natural language understanding (NLU) engine and implements the action without the need of coding. On both benchmark and in-house datasets, we validate the competitive performance of SkillBot automatically built NLU. We also observe that it only takes a few minutes for an end user to build a new skill using SkillBot.


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CRUISE: Cold-Start New Skill Development via Iterative Utterance Generation
Yilin Shen | Avik Ray | Abhishek Patel | Hongxia Jin
Proceedings of ACL 2018, System Demonstrations

We present a system, CRUISE, that guides ordinary software developers to build a high quality natural language understanding (NLU) engine from scratch. This is the fundamental step of building a new skill in personal assistants. Unlike existing solutions that require either developers or crowdsourcing to manually generate and annotate a large number of utterances, we design a hybrid rule-based and data-driven approach with the capability to iteratively generate more and more utterances. Our system only requires light human workload to iteratively prune incorrect utterances. CRUISE outputs a well trained NLU engine and a large scale annotated utterance corpus that third parties can use to develop their custom skills. Using both benchmark dataset and custom datasets we collected in real-world settings, we validate the high quality of CRUISE generated utterances via both competitive NLU performance and human evaluation. We also show the largely reduced human workload in terms of both cognitive load and human pruning time consumption.