Lu Fan


pdf bib
Just Adjust One Prompt: Enhancing In-Context Dialogue Scoring via Constructing the Optimal Subgraph of Demonstrations and Prompts
Jiashu Pu | Ling Cheng | Lu Fan | Tangjie Lv | Rongsheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The use of modern Large Language Models (LLMs) as chatbots still has some problems such as hallucinations and lack of empathy. Identifying these issues can help improve chatbot performance. The community has been continually iterating on reference-free dialogue evaluation methods based on large language models (LLMs) that can be readily applied. However, many of these LLM-based metrics require selecting specific datasets and developing specialized training tasks for different evaluation dimensions (e.g., coherence, informative). The developing step can be time-consuming and may need to be repeated for new evaluation dimensions. To enable efficient and flexible adaptation to diverse needs of dialogue evaluation, we propose a dimension-agnostic scoring method that leverages the in-context learning (ICL) capability of LLMs to learn from human scoring to the fullest extent. Our method has three key features. To begin with, rather than manual prompt crafting, we propose automatically generating prompts, allowing the LLM to observe human labels and summarize the most suitable prompt. Additionally, since the LLM has a token limit and ICL is sensitive to demonstration variations, we train a selector to finely customize demonstrations and prompts for each dialogue input. Finally, during inference, we propose to request the LLM multiple times with a subgraph of demonstrations and prompts that are diverse and suitable to maximize ICL from various human scoring. We validate the efficacy of our method on five datasets, even with a small amount of annotated data, our method outperforms all strong baselines. Code is available at


pdf bib
A Closer Look at Few-Shot Out-of-Distribution Intent Detection
Li-Ming Zhan | Haowen Liang | Lu Fan | Xiao-Ming Wu | Albert Y.S. Lam
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

We consider few-shot out-of-distribution (OOD) intent detection, a practical and important problem for the development of task-oriented dialogue systems. Despite its importance, this problem is seldom studied in the literature, let alone examined in a systematic way. In this work, we take a closer look at this problem and identify key issues for research. In our pilot study, we reveal the reason why existing OOD intent detection methods are not adequate in dealing with this problem. Based on the observation, we propose a promising approach to tackle this problem based on latent representation generation and self-supervision. Comprehensive experiments on three real-world intent detection benchmark datasets demonstrate the high effectiveness of our proposed approach and its great potential in improving state-of-the-art methods for few-shot OOD intent detection.


pdf bib
Out-of-Scope Intent Detection with Self-Supervision and Discriminative Training
Li-Ming Zhan | Haowen Liang | Bo Liu | Lu Fan | Xiao-Ming Wu | Albert Y.S. Lam
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Out-of-scope intent detection is of practical importance in task-oriented dialogue systems. Since the distribution of outlier utterances is arbitrary and unknown in the training stage, existing methods commonly rely on strong assumptions on data distribution such as mixture of Gaussians to make inference, resulting in either complex multi-step training procedures or hand-crafted rules such as confidence threshold selection for outlier detection. In this paper, we propose a simple yet effective method to train an out-of-scope intent classifier in a fully end-to-end manner by simulating the test scenario in training, which requires no assumption on data distribution and no additional post-processing or threshold setting. Specifically, we construct a set of pseudo outliers in the training stage, by generating synthetic outliers using inliner features via self-supervision and sampling out-of-scope sentences from easily available open-domain datasets. The pseudo outliers are used to train a discriminative classifier that can be directly applied to and generalize well on the test task. We evaluate our method extensively on four benchmark dialogue datasets and observe significant improvements over state-of-the-art approaches. Our code has been released at


pdf bib
Unknown Intent Detection Using Gaussian Mixture Model with an Application to Zero-shot Intent Classification
Guangfeng Yan | Lu Fan | Qimai Li | Han Liu | Xiaotong Zhang | Xiao-Ming Wu | Albert Y.S. Lam
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

User intent classification plays a vital role in dialogue systems. Since user intent may frequently change over time in many realistic scenarios, unknown (new) intent detection has become an essential problem, where the study has just begun. This paper proposes a semantic-enhanced Gaussian mixture model (SEG) for unknown intent detection. In particular, we model utterance embeddings with a Gaussian mixture distribution and inject dynamic class semantic information into Gaussian means, which enables learning more class-concentrated embeddings that help to facilitate downstream outlier detection. Coupled with a density-based outlier detection algorithm, SEG achieves competitive results on three real task-oriented dialogue datasets in two languages for unknown intent detection. On top of that, we propose to integrate SEG as an unknown intent identifier into existing generalized zero-shot intent classification models to improve their performance. A case study on a state-of-the-art method, ReCapsNet, shows that SEG can push the classification performance to a significantly higher level.


pdf bib
Reconstructing Capsule Networks for Zero-shot Intent Classification
Han Liu | Xiaotong Zhang | Lu Fan | Xuandi Fu | Qimai Li | Xiao-Ming Wu | Albert Y.S. Lam
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Intent classification is an important building block of dialogue systems. With the burgeoning of conversational AI, existing systems are not capable of handling numerous fast-emerging intents, which motivates zero-shot intent classification. Nevertheless, research on this problem is still in the incipient stage and few methods are available. A recently proposed zero-shot intent classification method, IntentCapsNet, has been shown to achieve state-of-the-art performance. However, it has two unaddressed limitations: (1) it cannot deal with polysemy when extracting semantic capsules; (2) it hardly recognizes the utterances of unseen intents in the generalized zero-shot intent classification setting. To overcome these limitations, we propose to reconstruct capsule networks for zero-shot intent classification. First, we introduce a dimensional attention mechanism to fight against polysemy. Second, we reconstruct the transformation matrices for unseen intents by utilizing abundant latent information of the labeled utterances, which significantly improves the model generalization ability. Experimental results on two task-oriented dialogue datasets in different languages show that our proposed method outperforms IntentCapsNet and other strong baselines.