Semantic parsing plays a key role in digital voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant by mapping natural language to structured meaning representations. When we want to improve the capabilities of a voice assistant by adding a new domain, the underlying semantic parsing model needs to be retrained using thousands of annotated examples from the new domain, which is time-consuming and expensive. In this work, we present an architecture to perform such domain adaptation automatically, with only a small amount of metadata about the new domain and without any new training data (zero-shot) or with very few examples (few-shot). We use a base seq2seq (sequence-to-sequence) architecture and augment it with a concept encoder that encodes intent and slot tags from the new domain. We also introduce a novel decoder-focused approach to pretrain seq2seq models to be concept aware using Wikidata and use it to help our model learn important concepts and perform well in low-resource settings. We report few-shot and zero-shot results for compositional semantic parsing on the TOPv2 dataset and show that our model outperforms prior approaches in few-shot settings for the TOPv2 and SNIPS datasets.
Understanding human language often necessitates understanding entities and their place in a taxonomy of knowledge—their types.Previous methods to learn entity types rely on training classifiers on datasets with coarse, noisy, and incomplete labels. We introduce a method to instill fine-grained type knowledge in language models with text-to-text pre-training on type-centric questions leveraging knowledge base documents and knowledge graphs.We create the WikiWiki dataset: entities and passages from 10M Wikipedia articles linked to the Wikidata knowledge graph with 41K types.Models trained on WikiWiki achieve state-of-the-art performance in zero-shot dialog state tracking benchmarks, accurately infer entity types in Wikipedia articles, and can discover new types deemed useful by human judges.
Smart assistants are tasked to answer various questions regarding world knowledge. These questions range from retrieval of simple facts to retrieval of complex, multi-hops question followed by various operators (i.e., filter, argmax). Semantic parsing has emerged as the state-of-the-art for answering these kinds of questions by forming queries to extract information from knowledge bases (KBs). Specially, neural semantic parsers (NSPs) effectively translate natural questions to logical forms, which execute on KB and give desirable answers. Yet, NSPs suffer from non-executable logical forms for some instances in the generated logical forms might be missing due to the incompleteness of KBs. Intuitively, knowing the KB structure informs NSP with changes of the global logical forms structures with respect to changes in KB instances. In this work, we propose a novel knowledge-informed decoder variant of NSP. We consider the conversational question answering settings, where a natural language query, its context and its final answers are available at training. Experimental results show that our method outperformed strong baselines by 1.8 F1 points overall across 10 types of questions of the CSQA dataset. Especially for the “Logical Reasoning” category, our model improves by 7 F1 points. Furthermore, our results are achieved with 90.3% fewer parameters, allowing faster training for large-scale datasets.
Dialog State Tracking (DST), an integral part of modern dialog systems, aims to track user preferences and constraints (slots) in task-oriented dialogs. In real-world settings with constantly changing services, DST systems must generalize to new domains and unseen slot types. Existing methods for DST do not generalize well to new slot names and many require known ontologies of slot types and values for inference. We introduce a novel ontology-free framework that supports natural language queries for unseen constraints and slots in multi-domain task-oriented dialogs. Our approach is based on generative question-answering using a conditional language model pre-trained on substantive English sentences. Our model improves joint goal accuracy in zero-shot domain adaptation settings by up to 9% (absolute) over the previous state-of-the-art on the MultiWOZ 2.1 dataset.
There is an increasing interest in continuous learning (CL), as data privacy is becoming a priority for real-world machine learning applications. Meanwhile, there is still a lack of academic NLP benchmarks that are applicable for realistic CL settings, which is a major challenge for the advancement of the field. In this paper we discuss some of the unrealistic data characteristics of public datasets, study the challenges of realistic single-task continuous learning as well as the effectiveness of data rehearsal as a way to mitigate accuracy loss. We construct a CL NER dataset from an existing publicly available dataset and release it along with the code to the research community.