Lifelong learning (LL) is vital for advanced task-oriented dialogue (ToD) systems. To address the catastrophic forgetting issue of LL, generative replay methods are widely employed to consolidate past knowledge with generated pseudo samples. However, most existing generative replay methods use only a single task-specific token to control their models. This scheme is usually not strong enough to constrain the generative model due to insufficient information involved. In this paper, we propose a novel method, prompt conditioned VAE for lifelong learning (PCLL), to enhance generative replay by incorporating tasks’ statistics. PCLL captures task-specific distributions with a conditional variational autoencoder, conditioned on natural language prompts to guide the pseudo-sample generation. Moreover, it leverages a distillation process to further consolidate past knowledge by alleviating the noise in pseudo samples. Experiments on natural language understanding tasks of ToD systems demonstrate that PCLL significantly outperforms competitive baselines in building lifelong learning models.
The goal-oriented document-grounded dialogue aims at responding to the user query based on the dialogue context and supporting document. Existing studies tackle this problem by decomposing it into two sub-tasks: knowledge identification and response generation. However, such pipeline methods would unavoidably suffer from the error propagation issue. This paper proposes to unify these two sub-tasks via sequentially generating the grounding knowledge and the response. We further develop a prompt-connected multi-task learning strategy to model the characteristics and connections of different tasks and introduce linear temperature scheduling to reduce the negative effect of irrelevant document information. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework.
Text-to-SQL parsing tackles the problem of mapping natural language questions to executable SQL queries. In practice, text-to-SQL parsers often encounter various challenging scenarios, requiring them to be generalizable and robust. While most existing work addresses a particular generalization or robustness challenge, we aim to study it in a more comprehensive manner. In specific, we believe that text-to-SQL parsers should be (1) generalizable at three levels of generalization, namely i.i.d., zero-shot, and compositional, and (2) robust against input perturbations. To enhance these capabilities of the parser, we propose a novel TKK framework consisting of Task decomposition, Knowledge acquisition, and Knowledge composition to learn text-to-SQL parsing in stages. By dividing the learning process into multiple stages, our framework improves the parser’s ability to acquire general SQL knowledge instead of capturing spurious patterns, making it more generalizable and robust. Experimental results under various generalization and robustness settings show that our framework is effective in all scenarios and achieves state-of-the-art performance on the Spider, SParC, and CoSQL datasets.