Hongliang He


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Uni-Encoder: A Fast and Accurate Response Selection Paradigm for Generation-Based Dialogue Systems
Chiyu Song | Hongliang He | Haofei Yu | Pengfei Fang | Leyang Cui | Zhenzhong Lan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Sample-and-rank is a key decoding strategy for modern generation-based dialogue systems. It helps achieve diverse and high-quality responses by selecting an answer from a small pool of generated candidates. The current state-of-the-art ranking methods mainly use an encoding paradigm called Cross-Encoder, which separately encodes each context-candidate pair and ranks the candidates according to their fitness scores. However, Cross-Encoder repeatedly encodes the same lengthy context for each candidate, resulting in high computational costs. Poly-Encoder addresses the above problems by reducing the interaction between context and candidates, but with a price of performance drop. In this work, we develop a new paradigm called Uni-Encoder, that keeps the full attention over each pair as in Cross-Encoder while only encoding the context once, as in Poly-Encoder. Uni-Encoder encodes all the candidates with the context in one forward pass. We use the same positional embedding for all candidates to ensure they are treated equally and design a new attention mechanism to avoid confusion. Our Uni-Encoder can simulate other ranking paradigms using different attention and response concatenation methods. Extensive experiments show that our proposed paradigm achieves new state-of-the-art results on four benchmark datasets with high computational efficiency. For instance, it improves R10@1 by 2.9% with an approximately 4X faster inference speed on the Ubuntu V2 dataset.

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Understanding Client Reactions in Online Mental Health Counseling
Anqi Li | Lizhi Ma | Yaling Mei | Hongliang He | Shuai Zhang | Huachuan Qiu | Zhenzhong Lan
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Communication success relies heavily on reading participants’ reactions. Such feedback is especially important for mental health counselors, who must carefully consider the client’s progress and adjust their approach accordingly. However, previous NLP research on counseling has mainly focused on studying counselors’ intervention strategies rather than their clients’ reactions to the intervention. This work aims to fill this gap by developing a theoretically grounded annotation framework that encompasses counselors’ strategies and client reaction behaviors. The framework has been tested against a large-scale, high-quality text-based counseling dataset we collected over the past two years from an online welfare counseling platform. Our study show how clients react to counselors’ strategies, how such reactions affect the final counseling outcomes, and how counselors can adjust their strategies in response to these reactions. We also demonstrate that this study can help counselors automatically predict their clients’ states.