Shuguang Cui


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Composable Text Controls in Latent Space with ODEs
Guangyi Liu | Zeyu Feng | Yuan Gao | Zichao Yang | Xiaodan Liang | Junwei Bao | Xiaodong He | Shuguang Cui | Zhen Li | Zhiting Hu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Real-world text applications often involve composing a wide range of text control operations, such as editing the text w.r.t. an attribute, manipulating keywords and structure, and generating new text of desired properties. Prior work typically learns/finetunes a language model (LM) to perform individual or specific subsets of operations. Recent research has studied combining operations in a plug-and-play manner, often with costly search or optimization in the complex sequence space. This paper proposes a new efficient approach for composable text operations in the compact latent space of text. The low-dimensionality and differentiability of the text latent vector allow us to develop an efficient sampler based on ordinary differential equations (ODEs) given arbitrary plug-in operators (e.g., attribute classifiers). By connecting pretrained LMs (e.g., GPT2) to the latent space through efficient adaption, we then decode the sampled vectors into desired text sequences. The flexible approach permits diverse control operators (sentiment, tense, formality, keywords, etc.) acquired using any relevant data from different domains. Experiments show that composing those operators within our approach manages to generate or edit high-quality text, substantially improving over previous methods in terms of generation quality and efficiency.

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MoNET: Tackle State Momentum via Noise-Enhanced Training for Dialogue State Tracking
Haoning Zhang | Junwei Bao | Haipeng Sun | Youzheng Wu | Wenye Li | Shuguang Cui | Xiaodong He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Dialogue state tracking (DST) aims to convert the dialogue history into dialogue states which consist of slot-value pairs. As condensed structural information memorizes all history information, the dialogue state in the previous turn is typically adopted as the input for predicting the current state by DST models. However, these models tend to keep the predicted slot values unchanged, which is defined as state momentum in this paper. Specifically, the models struggle to update slot values that need to be changed and correct wrongly predicted slot values in the previous turn. To this end, we propose MoNET to tackle state momentum via noise-enhanced training. First, the previous state of each turn in the training data is noised via replacing some of its slot values. Then, the noised previous state is used as the input to learn to predict the current state, improving the model’s ability to update and correct slot values. Furthermore, a contrastive contextmatching framework is designed to narrow the representation distance between a state and itscorresponding noised variant, which reduces the impact of noised state and makes the model better understand the dialogue history. Experimental results on MultiWOZ datasets show that MoNET outperforms previous DST methods. Ablations and analysis verify the effectiveness of MoNET in alleviating state momentum issues and improving the anti-noise ability.

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AUGUST: an Automatic Generation Understudy for Synthesizing Conversational Recommendation Datasets
Yu Lu | Junwei Bao | Zichen Ma | Xiaoguang Han | Youzheng Wu | Shuguang Cui | Xiaodong He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

High-quality data is essential for conversational recommendation systems and serves as the cornerstone of the network architecture development and training strategy design. Existing works contribute heavy human efforts to manually labeling or designing and extending recommender dialogue templates. However, they suffer from: (i) the limited number of human annotators results in datasets can hardly capture rich and large-scale cases in the real world, (ii) the limited experience and knowledge of annotators accounts for the uninformative corpus and inappropriate recommendations. In this paper, we propose a novel automatic dataset synthesis approach that can generate large-scale and high-quality recommendation dialogues through a data2text generation process, where unstructured recommendation conversations are generated from structured graphs based on user-item information from the real world. In doing so, we comprehensively exploit: (i) rich personalized user profiles from traditional recommendation datasets, (ii) rich external knowledge from knowledge graphs, and (iii) the conversation ability contained in human-to-human conversational recommendation datasets. Extensive experiments validate the benefit brought by the automatically synthesized data under low-resource scenarios, and demonstrate the promising potential to facilitate developing a more effective conversational recommendation system.


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CSS: Combining Self-training and Self-supervised Learning for Few-shot Dialogue State Tracking
Haoning Zhang | Junwei Bao | Haipeng Sun | Huaishao Luo | Wenye Li | Shuguang Cui
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Few-shot dialogue state tracking (DST) is a realistic problem that trains the DST model with limited labeled data. Existing few-shot methods mainly transfer knowledge learned from external labeled dialogue data (e.g., from question answering, dialogue summarization, machine reading comprehension tasks, etc.) into DST, whereas collecting a large amount of external labeled data is laborious, and the external data may not effectively contribute to the DST-specific task. In this paper, we propose a few-shot DST framework called CSS, which Combines Self-training and Self-supervised learning methods. The unlabeled data of the DST task is incorporated into the self-training iterations, where the pseudo labels are predicted by a DST model trained on limited labeled data in advance. Besides, a contrastive self-supervised method is used to learn better representations, where the data is augmented by the dropout operation to train the model. Experimental results on the MultiWOZ dataset show that our proposed CSS achieves competitive performance in several few-shot scenarios.

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Don’t Take It Literally: An Edit-Invariant Sequence Loss for Text Generation
Guangyi Liu | Zichao Yang | Tianhua Tao | Xiaodan Liang | Junwei Bao | Zhen Li | Xiaodong He | Shuguang Cui | Zhiting Hu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Neural text generation models are typically trained by maximizing log-likelihood with the sequence cross entropy (CE) loss, which encourages an exact token-by-token match between a target sequence with a generated sequence. Such training objective is sub-optimal when the target sequence is not perfect, e.g., when the target sequence is corrupted with noises, or when only weak sequence supervision is available. To address the challenge, we propose a novel Edit-Invariant Sequence Loss (EISL), which computes the matching loss of a target n-gram with all n-grams in the generated sequence. EISL is designed to be robust to various noises and edits in the target sequences. Moreover, the EISL computation is essentially an approximate convolution operation with target n-grams as kernels, which is easy to implement and efficient to compute with existing libraries. To demonstrate the effectiveness of EISL, we conduct experiments on a wide range of tasks, including machine translation with noisy target sequences, unsupervised text style transfer with only weak training signals, and non-autoregressive generation with non-predefined generation order. Experimental results show our method significantly outperforms the common CE loss and other strong baselines on all the tasks. EISL has a simple API that can be used as a drop-in replacement of the CE loss:


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RevCore: Review-Augmented Conversational Recommendation
Yu Lu | Junwei Bao | Yan Song | Zichen Ma | Shuguang Cui | Youzheng Wu | Xiaodong He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021