Marcus Collins


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Wizard of Tasks: A Novel Conversational Dataset for Solving Real-World Tasks in Conversational Settings
Jason Ingyu Choi | Saar Kuzi | Nikhita Vedula | Jie Zhao | Giuseppe Castellucci | Marcus Collins | Shervin Malmasi | Oleg Rokhlenko | Eugene Agichtein
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Conversational Task Assistants (CTAs) are conversational agents whose goal is to help humans perform real-world tasks. CTAs can help in exploring available tasks, answering task-specific questions and guiding users through step-by-step instructions. In this work, we present Wizard of Tasks, the first corpus of such conversations in two domains: Cooking and Home Improvement. We crowd-sourced a total of 549 conversations (18,077 utterances) with an asynchronous Wizard-of-Oz setup, relying on recipes from WholeFoods Market for the cooking domain, and WikiHow articles for the home improvement domain. We present a detailed data analysis and show that the collected data can be a valuable and challenging resource for CTAs in two tasks: Intent Classification (IC) and Abstractive Question Answering (AQA). While on IC we acquired a high performing model (>85% F1), on AQA the performance is far from being satisfactory (~27% BertScore-F1), suggesting that more work is needed to solve the task of low-resource AQA.


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VoiSeR: A New Benchmark for Voice-Based Search Refinement
Simone Filice | Giuseppe Castellucci | Marcus Collins | Eugene Agichtein | Oleg Rokhlenko
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Voice assistants, e.g., Alexa or Google Assistant, have dramatically improved in recent years. Supporting voice-based search, exploration, and refinement are fundamental tasks for voice assistants, and remain an open challenge. For example, when using voice to search an online shopping site, a user often needs to refine their search by some aspect or facet. This common user intent is usually available through a “filter-by” interface on online shopping websites, but is challenging to support naturally via voice, as the intent of refinements must be interpreted in the context of the original search, the initial results, and the available product catalogue facets. To our knowledge, no benchmark dataset exists for training or validating such contextual search understanding models. To bridge this gap, we introduce the first large-scale dataset of voice-based search refinements, VoiSeR, consisting of about 10,000 search refinement utterances, collected using a novel crowdsourcing task. These utterances are intended to refine a previous search, with respect to a search facet or attribute (e.g., brand, color, review rating, etc.), and are manually annotated with the specific intent. This paper reports qualitative and empirical insights into the most common and challenging types of refinements that a voice-based conversational search system must support. As we show, VoiSeR can support research in conversational query understanding, contextual user intent prediction, and other conversational search topics to facilitate the development of conversational search systems.