Dialog response generation in open domain is an important research topic where the main challenge is to generate relevant and diverse responses. In this paper, we propose a new dialog pre-training framework called DialogVED, which introduces continuous latent variables into the enhanced encoder-decoder pre-training framework to increase the relevance and diversity of responses. With the help of a large dialog corpus (Reddit), we pre-train the model using the following 4 tasks, used in training language models (LMs) and Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) literature: 1) masked language model; 2) response generation; 3) bag-of-words prediction; and 4) KL divergence reduction. We also add additional parameters to model the turn structure in dialogs to improve the performance of the pre-trained model. We conduct experiments on PersonaChat, DailyDialog, and DSTC7-AVSD benchmarks for response generation. Experimental results show that our model achieves the new state-of-the-art results on all these datasets.
Short text classification is a fundamental task in natural language processing. It is hard due to the lack of context information and labeled data in practice. In this paper, we propose a new method called SHINE, which is based on graph neural network (GNN), for short text classification. First, we model the short text dataset as a hierarchical heterogeneous graph consisting of word-level component graphs which introduce more semantic and syntactic information. Then, we dynamically learn a short document graph that facilitates effective label propagation among similar short texts. Thus, comparing with existing GNN-based methods, SHINE can better exploit interactions between nodes of the same types and capture similarities between short texts. Extensive experiments on various benchmark short text datasets show that SHINE consistently outperforms state-of-the-art methods, especially with fewer labels.
End-to-end neural models for goal-oriented conversational systems have become an increasingly active area of research, though results in real-world settings are few. We present real-world results for two issue types in the customer service domain. We train models on historical chat transcripts and test on live contacts using a human-in-the-loop research platform. Additionally, we incorporate customer profile features to assess their impact on model performance. We experiment with two approaches for response generation: (1) sequence-to-sequence generation and (2) template ranking. To test our models, a customer service agent handles live contacts and at each turn we present the top four model responses and allow the agent to select (and optionally edit) one of the suggestions or to type their own. We present results for turn acceptance rate, response coverage, and edit rate based on approximately 600 contacts, as well as qualitative analysis on patterns of turn rejection and edit behavior. Top-4 turn acceptance rate across all models ranges from 63%-80%. Our results suggest that these models are promising for an agent-support application.