Layla El Asri


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Why Exposure Bias Matters: An Imitation Learning Perspective of Error Accumulation in Language Generation
Kushal Arora | Layla El Asri | Hareesh Bahuleyan | Jackie Cheung
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Current language generation models suffer from issues such as repetition, incoherence, and hallucinations. An often-repeated hypothesis for this brittleness of generation models is that it is caused by the training and the generation procedure mismatch, also referred to as exposure bias. In this paper, we verify this hypothesis by analyzing exposure bias from an imitation learning perspective. We show that exposure bias leads to an accumulation of errors during generation, analyze why perplexity fails to capture this accumulation of errors, and empirically show that this accumulation results in poor generation quality.


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Diverse Keyphrase Generation with Neural Unlikelihood Training
Hareesh Bahuleyan | Layla El Asri
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

In this paper, we study sequence-to-sequence (S2S) keyphrase generation models from the perspective of diversity. Recent advances in neural natural language generation have made possible remarkable progress on the task of keyphrase generation, demonstrated through improvements on quality metrics such as F1-score. However, the importance of diversity in keyphrase generation has been largely ignored. We first analyze the extent of information redundancy present in the outputs generated by a baseline model trained using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). Our findings show that repetition of keyphrases is a major issue with MLE training. To alleviate this issue, we adopt neural unlikelihood (UL) objective for training the S2S model. Our version of UL training operates at (1) the target token level to discourage the generation of repeating tokens; (2) the copy token level to avoid copying repetitive tokens from the source text. Further, to encourage better model planning during the decoding process, we incorporate K-step ahead token prediction objective that computes both MLE and UL losses on future tokens as well. Through extensive experiments on datasets from three different domains we demonstrate that the proposed approach attains considerably large diversity gains, while maintaining competitive output quality.


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A Frame Tracking Model for Memory-Enhanced Dialogue Systems
Hannes Schulz | Jeremie Zumer | Layla El Asri | Shikhar Sharma
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

Recently, resources and tasks were proposed to go beyond state tracking in dialogue systems. An example is the frame tracking task, which requires recording multiple frames, one for each user goal set during the dialogue. This allows a user, for instance, to compare items corresponding to different goals. This paper proposes a model which takes as input the list of frames created so far during the dialogue, the current user utterance as well as the dialogue acts, slot types, and slot values associated with this utterance. The model then outputs the frame being referenced by each triple of dialogue act, slot type, and slot value. We show that on the recently published Frames dataset, this model significantly outperforms a previously proposed rule-based baseline. In addition, we propose an extensive analysis of the frame tracking task by dividing it into sub-tasks and assessing their difficulty with respect to our model.

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Frames: a corpus for adding memory to goal-oriented dialogue systems
Layla El Asri | Hannes Schulz | Shikhar Sharma | Jeremie Zumer | Justin Harris | Emery Fine | Rahul Mehrotra | Kaheer Suleman
Proceedings of the 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

This paper proposes a new dataset, Frames, composed of 1369 human-human dialogues with an average of 15 turns per dialogue. This corpus contains goal-oriented dialogues between users who are given some constraints to book a trip and assistants who search a database to find appropriate trips. The users exhibit complex decision-making behaviour which involve comparing trips, exploring different options, and selecting among the trips that were discussed during the dialogue. To drive research on dialogue systems towards handling such behaviour, we have annotated and released the dataset and we propose in this paper a task called frame tracking. This task consists of keeping track of different semantic frames throughout each dialogue. We propose a rule-based baseline and analyse the frame tracking task through this baseline.


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Policy Networks with Two-Stage Training for Dialogue Systems
Mehdi Fatemi | Layla El Asri | Hannes Schulz | Jing He | Kaheer Suleman
Proceedings of the 17th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue


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NASTIA: Negotiating Appointment Setting Interface
Layla El Asri | Rémi Lemonnier | Romain Laroche | Olivier Pietquin | Hatim Khouzaimi
Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'14)

This paper describes a French Spoken Dialogue System (SDS) named NASTIA (Negotiating Appointment SeTting InterfAce). Appointment scheduling is a hybrid task halfway between slot-filling and negotiation. NASTIA implements three different negotiation strategies. These strategies were tested on 1734 dialogues with 385 users who interacted at most 5 times with the SDS and gave a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 for each dialogue. Previous appointment scheduling systems were evaluated with the same experimental protocol. NASTIA is different from these systems in that it can adapt its strategy during the dialogue. The highest system task completion rate with these systems was 81% whereas NASTIA had an 88% average and its best performing strategy even reached 92%. This strategy also significantly outperformed previous systems in terms of overall user rating with an average of 8.28 against 7.40. The experiment also enabled highlighting global recommendations for building spoken dialogue systems.

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DINASTI: Dialogues with a Negotiating Appointment Setting Interface
Layla El Asri | Romain Laroche | Olivier Pietquin
Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'14)

This paper describes the DINASTI (DIalogues with a Negotiating Appointment SeTting Interface) corpus, which is composed of 1734 dialogues with the French spoken dialogue system NASTIA (Negotiating Appointment SeTting InterfAce). NASTIA is a reinforcement learning-based system. The DINASTI corpus was collected while the system was following a uniform policy. Each entry of the corpus is a system-user exchange annotated with 120 automatically computable features. The corpus contains a total of 21587 entries, with 385 testers. Each tester performed at most five scenario-based interactions with NASTIA. The dialogues last an average of 10.82 dialogue turns, with 4.45 reinforcement learning decisions. The testers filled an evaluation questionnaire after each dialogue. The questionnaire includes three questions to measure task completion. In addition, it comprises 7 Likert-scaled items evaluating several aspects of the interaction, a numerical overall evaluation on a scale of 1 to 10, and a free text entry. Answers to this questionnaire are provided with DINASTI. This corpus is meant for research on reinforcement learning modelling for dialogue management.


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Will my Spoken Dialogue System be a Slow Learner ?
Layla El Asri | Romain Laroche
Proceedings of the SIGDIAL 2013 Conference