Michael Newman


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Online Semantic Parsing for Latency Reduction in Task-Oriented Dialogue
Jiawei Zhou | Jason Eisner | Michael Newman | Emmanouil Antonios Platanios | Sam Thomson
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Standard conversational semantic parsing maps a complete user utterance into an executable program, after which the program is executed to respond to the user. This could be slow when the program contains expensive function calls. We investigate the opportunity to reduce latency by predicting and executing function calls while the user is still speaking. We introduce the task of online semantic parsing for this purpose, with a formal latency reduction metric inspired by simultaneous machine translation. We propose a general framework with first a learned prefix-to-program prediction module, and then a simple yet effective thresholding heuristic for subprogram selection for early execution. Experiments on the SMCalFlow and TreeDST datasets show our approach achieves large latency reduction with good parsing quality, with a 30%–65% latency reduction depending on function execution time and allowed cost.