Mihail Eric


2021

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Example-Driven Intent Prediction with Observers
Shikib Mehri | Mihail Eric
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

A key challenge of dialog systems research is to effectively and efficiently adapt to new domains. A scalable paradigm for adaptation necessitates the development of generalizable models that perform well in few-shot settings. In this paper, we focus on the intent classification problem which aims to identify user intents given utterances addressed to the dialog system. We propose two approaches for improving the generalizability of utterance classification models: (1) observers and (2) example-driven training. Prior work has shown that BERT-like models tend to attribute a significant amount of attention to the [CLS] token, which we hypothesize results in diluted representations. Observers are tokens that are not attended to, and are an alternative to the [CLS] token as a semantic representation of utterances. Example-driven training learns to classify utterances by comparing to examples, thereby using the underlying encoder as a sentence similarity model. These methods are complementary; improving the representation through observers allows the example-driven model to better measure sentence similarities. When combined, the proposed methods attain state-of-the-art results on three intent prediction datasets (banking77, clinc150, hwu64) in both the full data and few-shot (10 examples per intent) settings. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the proposed approach can transfer to new intents and across datasets without any additional training.

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Entity Resolution in Open-domain Conversations
Mingyue Shang | Tong Wang | Mihail Eric | Jiangning Chen | Jiyang Wang | Matthew Welch | Tiantong Deng | Akshay Grewal | Han Wang | Yue Liu | Yang Liu | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Industry Papers

In recent years, incorporating external knowledge for response generation in open-domain conversation systems has attracted great interest. To improve the relevancy of retrieved knowledge, we propose a neural entity linking (NEL) approach. Different from formal documents, such as news, conversational utterances are informal and multi-turn, which makes it more challenging to disambiguate the entities. Therefore, we present a context-aware named entity recognition model (NER) and entity resolution (ER) model to utilize dialogue context information. We conduct NEL experiments on three open-domain conversation datasets and validate that incorporating context information improves the performance of NER and ER models. The end-to-end NEL approach outperforms the baseline by 62.8% relatively in F1 metric. Furthermore, we verify that using external knowledge based on NEL benefits the neural response generation model.

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Multi-Sentence Knowledge Selection in Open-Domain Dialogue
Mihail Eric | Nicole Chartier | Behnam Hedayatnia | Karthik Gopalakrishnan | Pankaj Rajan | Yang Liu | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

Incorporating external knowledge sources effectively in conversations is a longstanding problem in open-domain dialogue research. The existing literature on open-domain knowledge selection is limited and makes certain brittle assumptions on knowledge sources to simplify the overall task, such as the existence of a single relevant knowledge sentence per context. In this work, we evaluate the existing state of open-domain conversation knowledge selection, showing where the existing methodologies regarding data and evaluation are flawed. We then improve on them by proposing a new framework for collecting relevant knowledge, and create an augmented dataset based on the Wizard of Wikipedia (WOW) corpus, which we call WOW++. WOW++ averages 8 relevant knowledge sentences per dialogue context, embracing the inherent ambiguity of open-domain dialogue knowledge selection. We then benchmark various knowledge ranking algorithms on this augmented dataset with both intrinsic evaluation and extrinsic measures of response quality, showing that neural rerankers that use WOW++ can outperform rankers trained on standard datasets.

2020

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MultiWOZ 2.1: A Consolidated Multi-Domain Dialogue Dataset with State Corrections and State Tracking Baselines
Mihail Eric | Rahul Goel | Shachi Paul | Abhishek Sethi | Sanchit Agarwal | Shuyang Gao | Adarsh Kumar | Anuj Goyal | Peter Ku | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

MultiWOZ 2.0 (Budzianowski et al., 2018) is a recently released multi-domain dialogue dataset spanning 7 distinct domains and containing over 10,000 dialogues. Though immensely useful and one of the largest resources of its kind to-date, MultiWOZ 2.0 has a few shortcomings. Firstly, there are substantial noise in the dialogue state annotations and dialogue utterances which negatively impact the performance of state-tracking models. Secondly, follow-up work (Lee et al., 2019) has augmented the original dataset with user dialogue acts. This leads to multiple co-existent versions of the same dataset with minor modifications. In this work we tackle the aforementioned issues by introducing MultiWOZ 2.1. To fix the noisy state annotations, we use crowdsourced workers to re-annotate state and utterances based on the original utterances in the dataset. This correction process results in changes to over 32% of state annotations across 40% of the dialogue turns. In addition, we fix 146 dialogue utterances by canonicalizing slot values in the utterances to the values in the dataset ontology. To address the second problem, we combined the contributions of the follow-up works into MultiWOZ 2.1. Hence, our dataset also includes user dialogue acts as well as multiple slot descriptions per dialogue state slot. We then benchmark a number of state-of-the-art dialogue state tracking models on the MultiWOZ 2.1 dataset and show the joint state tracking performance on the corrected state annotations. We are publicly releasing MultiWOZ 2.1 to the community, hoping that this dataset resource will allow for more effective models across various dialogue subproblems to be built in the future.

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Policy-Driven Neural Response Generation for Knowledge-Grounded Dialog Systems
Behnam Hedayatnia | Karthik Gopalakrishnan | Seokhwan Kim | Yang Liu | Mihail Eric | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

Open-domain dialog systems aim to generate relevant, informative and engaging responses. In this paper, we propose using a dialog policy to plan the content and style of target, open domain responses in the form of an action plan, which includes knowledge sentences related to the dialog context, targeted dialog acts, topic information, etc. For training, the attributes within the action plan are obtained by automatically annotating the publicly released Topical-Chat dataset. We condition neural response generators on the action plan which is then realized as target utterances at the turn and sentence levels. We also investigate different dialog policy models to predict an action plan given the dialog context. Through automated and human evaluation, we measure the appropriateness of the generated responses and check if the generation models indeed learn to realize the given action plans. We demonstrate that a basic dialog policy that operates at the sentence level generates better responses in comparison to turn level generation as well as baseline models with no action plan. Additionally the basic dialog policy has the added benefit of controllability.

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Beyond Domain APIs: Task-oriented Conversational Modeling with Unstructured Knowledge Access
Seokhwan Kim | Mihail Eric | Karthik Gopalakrishnan | Behnam Hedayatnia | Yang Liu | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 21th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Most prior work on task-oriented dialogue systems are restricted to a limited coverage of domain APIs, while users oftentimes have domain related requests that are not covered by the APIs. In this paper, we propose to expand coverage of task-oriented dialogue systems by incorporating external unstructured knowledge sources. We define three sub-tasks: knowledge-seeking turn detection, knowledge selection, and knowledge-grounded response generation, which can be modeled individually or jointly. We introduce an augmented version of MultiWOZ 2.1, which includes new out-of-API-coverage turns and responses grounded on external knowledge sources. We present baselines for each sub-task using both conventional and neural approaches. Our experimental results demonstrate the need for further research in this direction to enable more informative conversational systems.

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Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Conversational AI
Tsung-Hsien Wen | Asli Celikyilmaz | Zhou Yu | Alexandros Papangelis | Mihail Eric | Anuj Kumar | Iñigo Casanueva | Rushin Shah
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Conversational AI

2017

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Key-Value Retrieval Networks for Task-Oriented Dialogue
Mihail Eric | Lakshmi Krishnan | Francois Charette | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Neural task-oriented dialogue systems often struggle to smoothly interface with a knowledge base. In this work, we seek to address this problem by proposing a new neural dialogue agent that is able to effectively sustain grounded, multi-domain discourse through a novel key-value retrieval mechanism. The model is end-to-end differentiable and does not need to explicitly model dialogue state or belief trackers. We also release a new dataset of 3,031 dialogues that are grounded through underlying knowledge bases and span three distinct tasks in the in-car personal assistant space: calendar scheduling, weather information retrieval, and point-of-interest navigation. Our architecture is simultaneously trained on data from all domains and significantly outperforms a competitive rule-based system and other existing neural dialogue architectures on the provided domains according to both automatic and human evaluation metrics.

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The Pragmatics of Indirect Commands in Collaborative Discourse
Matthew Lamm | Mihail Eric
IWCS 2017 — 12th International Conference on Computational Semantics — Short papers

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Learning Symmetric Collaborative Dialogue Agents with Dynamic Knowledge Graph Embeddings
He He | Anusha Balakrishnan | Mihail Eric | Percy Liang
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We study a symmetric collaborative dialogue setting in which two agents, each with private knowledge, must strategically communicate to achieve a common goal. The open-ended dialogue state in this setting poses new challenges for existing dialogue systems. We collected a dataset of 11K human-human dialogues, which exhibits interesting lexical, semantic, and strategic elements. To model both structured knowledge and unstructured language, we propose a neural model with dynamic knowledge graph embeddings that evolve as the dialogue progresses. Automatic and human evaluations show that our model is both more effective at achieving the goal and more human-like than baseline neural and rule-based models.

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A Copy-Augmented Sequence-to-Sequence Architecture Gives Good Performance on Task-Oriented Dialogue
Mihail Eric | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 2, Short Papers

Task-oriented dialogue focuses on conversational agents that participate in dialogues with user goals on domain-specific topics. In contrast to chatbots, which simply seek to sustain open-ended meaningful discourse, existing task-oriented agents usually explicitly model user intent and belief states. This paper examines bypassing such an explicit representation by depending on a latent neural embedding of state and learning selective attention to dialogue history together with copying to incorporate relevant prior context. We complement recent work by showing the effectiveness of simple sequence-to-sequence neural architectures with a copy mechanism. Our model outperforms more complex memory-augmented models by 7% in per-response generation and is on par with the current state-of-the-art on DSTC2, a real-world task-oriented dialogue dataset.