Fanghua Ye


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Modeling User Satisfaction Dynamics in Dialogue via Hawkes Process
Fanghua Ye | Zhiyuan Hu | Emine Yilmaz
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Dialogue systems have received increasing attention while automatically evaluating their performance remains challenging. User satisfaction estimation (USE) has been proposed as an alternative. It assumes that the performance of a dialogue system can be measured by user satisfaction and uses an estimator to simulate users. The effectiveness of USE depends heavily on the estimator. Existing estimators independently predict user satisfaction at each turn and ignore satisfaction dynamics across turns within a dialogue. In order to fully simulate users, it is crucial to take satisfaction dynamics into account. To fill this gap, we propose a new estimator ASAP (sAtisfaction eStimation via HAwkes Process) that treats user satisfaction across turns as an event sequence and employs a Hawkes process to effectively model the dynamics in this sequence. Experimental results on four benchmark dialogue datasets demonstrate that ASAP can substantially outperform state-of-the-art baseline estimators.

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Enhancing Conversational Search: Large Language Model-Aided Informative Query Rewriting
Fanghua Ye | Meng Fang | Shenghui Li | Emine Yilmaz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Query rewriting plays a vital role in enhancing conversational search by transforming context-dependent user queries into standalone forms. Existing approaches primarily leverage human-rewritten queries as labels to train query rewriting models. However, human rewrites may lack sufficient information for optimal retrieval performance. To overcome this limitation, we propose utilizing large language models (LLMs) as query rewriters, enabling the generation of informative query rewrites through well-designed instructions. We define four essential properties for well-formed rewrites and incorporate all of them into the instruction. In addition, we introduce the role of rewrite editors for LLMs when initial query rewrites are available, forming a “rewrite-then-edit” process. Furthermore, we propose distilling the rewriting capabilities of LLMs into smaller models to reduce rewriting latency. Our experimental evaluation on the QReCC dataset demonstrates that informative query rewrites can yield substantially improved retrieval performance compared to human rewrites, especially with sparse retrievers.

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Turn-Level Active Learning for Dialogue State Tracking
Zihan Zhang | Meng Fang | Fanghua Ye | Ling Chen | Mohammad-Reza Namazi-Rad
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Dialogue state tracking (DST) plays an important role in task-oriented dialogue systems. However, collecting a large amount of turn-by-turn annotated dialogue data is costly and inefficient. In this paper, we propose a novel turn-level active learning framework for DST to actively select turns in dialogues to annotate. Given the limited labelling budget, experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of selective annotation of dialogue turns. Additionally, our approach can effectively achieve comparable DST performance to traditional training approaches with significantly less annotated data, which provides a more efficient way to annotate new dialogue data.


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MultiWOZ 2.4: A Multi-Domain Task-Oriented Dialogue Dataset with Essential Annotation Corrections to Improve State Tracking Evaluation
Fanghua Ye | Jarana Manotumruksa | Emine Yilmaz
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

The MultiWOZ 2.0 dataset has greatly stimulated the research of task-oriented dialogue systems. However, its state annotations contain substantial noise, which hinders a proper evaluation of model performance. To address this issue, massive efforts were devoted to correcting the annotations. Three improved versions (i.e., MultiWOZ 2.1-2.3) have then been released. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of incorrect and inconsistent annotations. This work introduces MultiWOZ 2.4, which refines the annotations in the validation set and test set of MultiWOZ 2.1. The annotations in the training set remain unchanged (same as MultiWOZ 2.1) to elicit robust and noise-resilient model training. We benchmark eight state-of-the-art dialogue state tracking models on MultiWOZ 2.4. All of them demonstrate much higher performance than on MultiWOZ 2.1.

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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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MetaASSIST: Robust Dialogue State Tracking with Meta Learning
Fanghua Ye | Xi Wang | Jie Huang | Shenghui Li | Samuel Stern | Emine Yilmaz
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Existing dialogue datasets contain lots of noise in their state annotations. Such noise can hurt model training and ultimately lead to poor generalization performance. A general framework named ASSIST has recently been proposed to train robust dialogue state tracking (DST) models. It introduces an auxiliary model to generate pseudo labels for the noisy training set. These pseudo labels are combined with vanilla labels by a common fixed weighting parameter to train the primary DST model. Notwithstanding the improvements of ASSIST on DST, tuning the weighting parameter is challenging. Moreover, a single parameter shared by all slots and all instances may be suboptimal. To overcome these limitations, we propose a meta learning-based framework MetaASSIST to adaptively learn the weighting parameter. Specifically, we propose three schemes with varying degrees of flexibility, ranging from slot-wise to both slot-wise and instance-wise, to convert the weighting parameter into learnable functions. These functions are trained in a meta-learning manner by taking the validation set as meta data. Experimental results demonstrate that all three schemes can achieve competitive performance. Most impressively, we achieve a state-of-the-art joint goal accuracy of 80.10% on MultiWOZ 2.4.

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ASSIST: Towards Label Noise-Robust Dialogue State Tracking
Fanghua Ye | Yue Feng | Emine Yilmaz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

The MultiWOZ 2.0 dataset has greatly boosted the research on dialogue state tracking (DST). However, substantial noise has been discovered in its state annotations. Such noise brings about huge challenges for training DST models robustly. Although several refined versions, including MultiWOZ 2.1-2.4, have been published recently, there are still lots of noisy labels, especially in the training set. Besides, it is costly to rectify all the problematic annotations. In this paper, instead of improving the annotation quality further, we propose a general framework, named ASSIST (lAbel noiSe-robuSt dIalogue State Tracking), to train DST models robustly from noisy labels. ASSIST first generates pseudo labels for each sample in the training set by using an auxiliary model trained on a small clean dataset, then puts the generated pseudo labels and vanilla noisy labels together to train the primary model. We show the validity of ASSIST theoretically. Experimental results also demonstrate that ASSIST improves the joint goal accuracy of DST by up to 28.16% on MultiWOZ 2.0 and 8.41% on MultiWOZ 2.4, compared to using only the vanilla noisy labels.


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Unsupervised Few-Bits Semantic Hashing with Implicit Topics Modeling
Fanghua Ye | Jarana Manotumruksa | Emine Yilmaz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Semantic hashing is a powerful paradigm for representing texts as compact binary hash codes. The explosion of short text data has spurred the demand of few-bits hashing. However, the performance of existing semantic hashing methods cannot be guaranteed when applied to few-bits hashing because of severe information loss. In this paper, we present a simple but effective unsupervised neural generative semantic hashing method with a focus on few-bits hashing. Our model is built upon variational autoencoder and represents each hash bit as a Bernoulli variable, which allows the model to be end-to-end trainable. To address the issue of information loss, we introduce a set of auxiliary implicit topic vectors. With the aid of these topic vectors, the generated hash codes are not only low-dimensional representations of the original texts but also capture their implicit topics. We conduct comprehensive experiments on four datasets. The results demonstrate that our approach achieves significant improvements over state-of-the-art semantic hashing methods in few-bits hashing.