Sahand Sabour


2022

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Rethinking and Refining the Distinct Metric
Siyang Liu | Sahand Sabour | Yinhe Zheng | Pei Ke | Xiaoyan Zhu | Minlie Huang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Distinct is a widely used automatic metric for evaluating diversity in language generation tasks.However, we observed that the original approach to calculating distinct scores has evident biases that tend to assign higher penalties to longer sequences. We refine the calculation of distinct scores by scaling the number of distinct tokens based on their expectations. We provide both empirical and theoretical evidence to show that our method effectively removes the biases existing in the original distinct score. Our experiments show that our proposed metric, Expectation-Adjusted Distinct (EAD), correlates better with human judgment in evaluating response diversity.To assist future research, we provide an example implementation at https://github.com/lsy641/Expectation-Adjusted-Distinct.

2021

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Towards Emotional Support Dialog Systems
Siyang Liu | Chujie Zheng | Orianna Demasi | Sahand Sabour | Yu Li | Zhou Yu | Yong Jiang | Minlie Huang
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)

Emotional support is a crucial ability for many conversation scenarios, including social interactions, mental health support, and customer service chats. Following reasonable procedures and using various support skills can help to effectively provide support. However, due to the lack of a well-designed task and corpora of effective emotional support conversations, research on building emotional support into dialog systems remains lacking. In this paper, we define the Emotional Support Conversation (ESC) task and propose an ESC Framework, which is grounded on the Helping Skills Theory. We construct an Emotion Support Conversation dataset (ESConv) with rich annotation (especially support strategy) in a help-seeker and supporter mode. To ensure a corpus of high-quality conversations that provide examples of effective emotional support, we take extensive effort to design training tutorials for supporters and several mechanisms for quality control during data collection. Finally, we evaluate state-of-the-art dialog models with respect to the ability to provide emotional support. Our results show the importance of support strategies in providing effective emotional support and the utility of ESConv in training more emotional support systems.