Haolan Zhan


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Augmenting Knowledge-grounded Conversations with Sequential Knowledge Transition
Haolan Zhan | Hainan Zhang | Hongshen Chen | Zhuoye Ding | Yongjun Bao | Yanyan Lan
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Knowledge data are massive and widespread in the real-world, which can serve as good external sources to enrich conversations. However, in knowledge-grounded conversations, current models still lack the fine-grained control over knowledge selection and integration with dialogues, which finally leads to the knowledge-irrelevant response generation problems: 1) knowledge selection merely relies on the dialogue context, ignoring the inherent knowledge transitions along with conversation flows; 2) the models often over-fit during training, resulting with incoherent response by referring to unrelated tokens from specific knowledge content in the testing phase; 3) although response is generated upon the dialogue history and knowledge, the models often tend to overlook the selected knowledge, and hence generates knowledge-irrelevant response. To address these problems, we proposed to explicitly model the knowledge transition in sequential multi-turn conversations by abstracting knowledge into topic tags. Besides, to fully utilizing the selected knowledge in generative process, we propose pre-training a knowledge-aware response generator to pay more attention on the selected knowledge. In particular, a sequential knowledge transition model equipped with a pre-trained knowledge-aware response generator (SKT-KG) formulates the high-level knowledge transition and fully utilizes the limited knowledge data. Experimental results on both structured and unstructured knowledge-grounded dialogue benchmarks indicate that our model achieves better performance over baseline models.

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CoLV: A Collaborative Latent Variable Model for Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue Generation
Haolan Zhan | Lei Shen | Hongshen Chen | Hainan Zhang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Knowledge-grounded dialogue generation has achieved promising performance with the engagement of external knowledge sources. Typical approaches towards this task usually perform relatively independent two sub-tasks, i.e., knowledge selection and knowledge-aware response generation. In this paper, in order to improve the diversity of both knowledge selection and knowledge-aware response generation, we propose a collaborative latent variable (CoLV) model to integrate these two aspects simultaneously in separate yet collaborative latent spaces, so as to capture the inherent correlation between knowledge selection and response generation. During generation, our proposed model firstly draws knowledge candidate from the latent space conditioned on the dialogue context, and then samples a response from another collaborative latent space conditioned on both the context and the selected knowledge. Experimental results on two widely-used knowledge-grounded dialogue datasets show that our model outperforms previous methods on both knowledge selection and response generation.


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Modeling Semantic Relationship in Multi-turn Conversations with Hierarchical Latent Variables
Lei Shen | Yang Feng | Haolan Zhan
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Multi-turn conversations consist of complex semantic structures, and it is still a challenge to generate coherent and diverse responses given previous utterances. It’s practical that a conversation takes place under a background, meanwhile, the query and response are usually most related and they are consistent in topic but also different in content. However, little work focuses on such hierarchical relationship among utterances. To address this problem, we propose a Conversational Semantic Relationship RNN (CSRR) model to construct the dependency explicitly. The model contains latent variables in three hierarchies. The discourse-level one captures the global background, the pair-level one stands for the common topic information between query and response, and the utterance-level ones try to represent differences in content. Experimental results show that our model significantly improves the quality of responses in terms of fluency, coherence, and diversity compared to baseline methods.