Dialogue systems can benefit from being able to search through a corpus of text to find information relevant to user requests, especially when encountering a request for which no manually curated response is available. The state-of-the-art technology for neural dense retrieval or re-ranking involves deep learning models with hundreds of millions of parameters. However, it is difficult and expensive to get such models to operate at an industrial scale, especially for cloud services that often need to support a big number of individually customized dialogue systems, each with its own text corpus. We report our work on enabling advanced neural dense retrieval systems to operate effectively at scale on relatively inexpensive hardware. We compare with leading alternative industrial solutions and show that we can provide a solution that is effective, fast, and cost-efficient.
Machine reading comprehension is a challenging task especially for querying documents with deep and interconnected contexts. Transformer-based methods have shown advanced performances on this task; however, most of them still treat documents as a flat sequence of tokens. This work proposes a new Transformer-based method that reads a document as tree slices. It contains two modules for identifying more relevant text passage and the best answer span respectively, which are not only jointly trained but also jointly consulted at inference time. Our evaluation results show that our proposed method outperforms several competitive baseline approaches on two datasets from varied domains.
We propose MultiDoc2Dial, a new task and dataset on modeling goal-oriented dialogues grounded in multiple documents. Most previous works treat document-grounded dialogue modeling as machine reading comprehension task based on a single given document or passage. In this work, we aim to address more realistic scenarios where a goal-oriented information-seeking conversation involves multiple topics, and hence is grounded on different documents. To facilitate such task, we introduce a new dataset that contains dialogues grounded in multiple documents from four different domains. We also explore modeling the dialogue-based and document-based contexts in the dataset. We present strong baseline approaches and various experimental results, aiming to support further research efforts on such a task.
Disentangling conversations mixed together in a single stream of messages is a difficult task, made harder by the lack of large manually annotated datasets. We created a new dataset of 77,563 messages manually annotated with reply-structure graphs that both disentangle conversations and define internal conversation structure. Our data is 16 times larger than all previously released datasets combined, the first to include adjudication of annotation disagreements, and the first to include context. We use our data to re-examine prior work, in particular, finding that 89% of conversations in a widely used dialogue corpus are either missing messages or contain extra messages. Our manually-annotated data presents an opportunity to develop robust data-driven methods for conversation disentanglement, which will help advance dialogue research.