Hong Liu


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Information Extraction and Human-Robot Dialogue towards Real-life Tasks A Baseline Study with the MobileCS Dataset
Hong Liu | Hao Peng | Zhijian Ou | Juanzi Li | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

Recently, there have merged a class of taskoriented dialogue (TOD) datasets collected through Wizard-of-Oz simulated games. However, the Wizard-of-Oz data are in fact simulated data and thus are fundamentally different from real-life conversations, which are more noisy and casual. Recently, the SereTOD challenge is organized and releases the MobileCS dataset, which consists of real-world dialog transcripts between real users and customerservice staffs from China Mobile. Based on the MobileCS dataset, the SereTOD challenge has two tasks, not only evaluating the construction of the dialogue system itself, but also examining information extraction from dialog transcripts, which is crucial for building the knowledge base for TOD. This paper mainly presents a baseline study of the two tasks with the MobileCS dataset. We introduce how the two baselines are constructed, the problems encountered, and the results. We anticipate that the baselines can facilitate exciting future research to build human-robot dialogue systems for real-life tasks.

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A Generative User Simulator with GPT-based Architecture and Goal State Tracking for Reinforced Multi-Domain Dialog Systems
Hong Liu | Yucheng Cai | Zhijian Ou | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

Building user simulators (USs) for reinforcement learning (RL) of task-oriented dialog systems (DSs) has gained more and more attention, which, however, still faces several fundamental challenges. First, it is unclear whether we can leverage pretrained language models to design, for example, GPT-2 based USs, to catch up and interact with the recently advanced GPT- 2 based DSs. Second, an important ingredient in a US is that the user goal can be effectively incorporated and tracked; but how to flexibly integrate goal state tracking and develop an end-to-end trainable US for multi-domains has remained to be a challenge. In this work, we propose a generative user simulator (GUS) with GPT-2 based architecture and goal state tracking towards addressing the above two challenges. Extensive experiments are conducted on MultiWOZ2.1. Different DSs are trained via RL with GUS, the classic agenda-based user simulator (ABUS) and other ablation simulators respectively, and are compared for crossmodel evaluation, corpus-based evaluation and human evaluation. The GUS achieves superior results in all three evaluation tasks.

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Hierarchical Representation-based Dynamic Reasoning Network for Biomedical Question Answering
Jianguo Mao | Jiyuan Zhang | Zengfeng Zeng | Weihua Peng | Wenbin Jiang | Xiangdong Wang | Hong Liu | Yajuan Lyu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Recently, Biomedical Question Answering (BQA) has attracted growing attention due to its application value and technical challenges. Most existing works treat it as a semantic matching task that predicts answers by computing confidence among questions, options and evidence sentences, which is insufficient for scenarios that require complex reasoning based on a deep understanding of biomedical evidences. We propose a novel model termed Hierarchical Representation-based Dynamic Reasoning Network (HDRN) to tackle this problem. It first constructs the hierarchical representations for biomedical evidences to learn semantics within and among evidences. It then performs dynamic reasoning based on the hierarchical representations of evidences to solve complex biomedical problems. Against the existing state-of-the-art model, the proposed model significantly improves more than 4.5%, 3% and 1.3% on three mainstream BQA datasets, PubMedQA, MedQA-USMLE and NLPEC. The ablation study demonstrates the superiority of each improvement of our model. The code will be released after the paper is published.

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Dynamic Multistep Reasoning based on Video Scene Graph for Video Question Answering
Jianguo Mao | Wenbin Jiang | Xiangdong Wang | Zhifan Feng | Yajuan Lyu | Hong Liu | Yong Zhu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Existing video question answering (video QA) models lack the capacity for deep video understanding and flexible multistep reasoning. We propose for video QA a novel model which performs dynamic multistep reasoning between questions and videos. It creates video semantic representation based on the video scene graph composed of semantic elements of the video and semantic relations among these elements. Then, it performs multistep reasoning for better answer decision between the representations of the question and the video, and dynamically integrate the reasoning results. Experiments show the significant advantage of the proposed model against previous methods in accuracy and interpretability. Against the existing state-of-the-art model, the proposed model dramatically improves more than 4%/3.1%/2% on the three widely used video QA datasets, MSRVTT-QA, MSRVTT multi-choice, and TGIF-QA, and displays better interpretability by backtracing along with the attention mechanisms to the video scene graphs.

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Advancing Semi-Supervised Task Oriented Dialog Systems by JSA Learning of Discrete Latent Variable Models
Yucheng Cai | Hong Liu | Zhijian Ou | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Developing semi-supervised task-oriented dialog (TOD) systems by leveraging unlabeled dialog data has attracted increasing interests. For semi-supervised learning of latent state TOD models, variational learning is often used, but suffers from the annoying high-variance of the gradients propagated through discrete latent variables and the drawback of indirectly optimizing the target log-likelihood. Recently, an alternative algorithm, called joint stochastic approximation (JSA), has emerged for learning discrete latent variable models with impressive performances. In this paper, we propose to apply JSA to semi-supervised learning of the latent state TOD models, which is referred to as JSA-TOD. To our knowledge, JSA-TOD represents the first work in developing JSA based semi-supervised learning of discrete latent variable conditional models for such long sequential generation problems like in TOD systems. Extensive experiments show that JSA-TOD significantly outperforms its variational learning counterpart. Remarkably, semi-supervised JSA-TOD using 20% labels performs close to the full-supervised baseline on MultiWOZ2.1.

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Explainable Question Answering based on Semantic Graph by Global Differentiable Learning and Dynamic Adaptive Reasoning
Jianguo Mao | Wenbin Jiang | Xiangdong Wang | Hong Liu | Yu Xia | Yajuan Lyu | QiaoQiao She
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Multi-hop Question Answering is an agent task for testing the reasoning ability. With the development of pre-trained models, the implicit reasoning ability has been surprisingly improved and can even surpass human performance. However, the nature of the black box hinders the construction of explainable intelligent systems. Several researchers have explored explainable neural-symbolic reasoning methods based on question decomposition techniques. The undifferentiable symbolic operations and the error propagation in the reasoning process lead to poor performance. To alleviate it, we propose a simple yet effective Global Differentiable Learning strategy to explore optimal reasoning paths from the latent probability space so that the model learns to solve intermediate reasoning processes without expert annotations. We further design a Dynamic Adaptive Reasoner to enhance the generalization of unseen questions. Our method achieves 17% improvements in F1-score against BreakRC and shows better interpretability. We take a step forward in building interpretable reasoning methods.