Pre-training methods with contrastive learning objectives have shown remarkable success in dialog understanding tasks. However, current contrastive learning solely considers the self-augmented dialog samples as positive samples and treats all other dialog samples as negative ones, which enforces dissimilar representations even for dialogs that are semantically related. In this paper, we propose SPACE-2, a tree-structured pre-trained conversation model, which learns dialog representations from limited labeled dialogs and large-scale unlabeled dialog corpora via semi-supervised contrastive pre-training. Concretely, we first define a general semantic tree structure (STS) to unify the inconsistent annotation schema across different dialog datasets, so that the rich structural information stored in all labeled data can be exploited. Then we propose a novel multi-view score function to increase the relevance of all possible dialogs that share similar STSs and only push away other completely different dialogs during supervised contrastive pre-training. To fully exploit unlabeled dialogs, a basic self-supervised contrastive loss is also added to refine the learned representations. Experiments show that our method can achieve new state-of-the-art results on the DialoGLUE benchmark consisting of seven datasets and four popular dialog understanding tasks.
Practical dialog systems need to deal with various knowledge sources, noisy user expressions, and the shortage of annotated data. To better solve the above problems, we propose CGoDial, a new challenging and comprehensive Chinese benchmark for multi-domain Goal-oriented Dialog evaluation. It contains 96,763 dialog sessions, and 574,949 dialog turns totally, covering three datasets with different knowledge sources: 1) a slot-based dialog (SBD) dataset with table-formed knowledge, 2) a flow-based dialog (FBD) dataset with tree-formed knowledge, and a retrieval-based dialog (RBD) dataset with candidate-formed knowledge. To bridge the gap between academic benchmarks and spoken dialog scenarios, we either collect data from real conversations or add spoken features to existing datasets via crowd-sourcing. The proposed experimental settings include the combinations of training with either the entire training set or a few-shot training set, and testing with either the standard test set or a hard test subset, which can assess model capabilities in terms of general prediction, fast adaptability and reliable robustness.
Most existing neural network based task-oriented dialog systems follow encoder-decoder paradigm, where the decoder purely depends on the source texts to generate a sequence of words, usually suffering from instability and poor readability. Inspired by the traditional template-based generation approaches, we propose a template-guided hybrid pointer network for knowledge-based task-oriented dialog systems, which retrieves several potentially relevant answers from a pre-constructed domain-specific conversational repository as guidance answers, and incorporates the guidance answers into both the encoding and decoding processes. Specifically, we design a memory pointer network model with a gating mechanism to fully exploit the semantic correlation between the retrieved answers and the ground-truth response. We evaluate our model on four widely used task-oriented datasets, including one simulated and three manually created datasets. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed model achieves significantly better performance than the state-of-the-art methods over different automatic evaluation metrics.
The challenge of both achieving task completion by querying the knowledge base and generating human-like responses for task-oriented dialogue systems is attracting increasing research attention. In this paper, we propose a “Two-Teacher One-Student” learning framework (TTOS) for task-oriented dialogue, with the goal of retrieving accurate KB entities and generating human-like responses simultaneously. TTOS amalgamates knowledge from two teacher networks that together provide comprehensive guidance to build a high-quality task-oriented dialogue system (student network). Each teacher network is trained via reinforcement learning with a goal-specific reward, which can be viewed as an expert towards the goal and transfers the professional characteristic to the student network. Instead of adopting the classic student-teacher learning of forcing the output of a student network to exactly mimic the soft targets produced by the teacher networks, we introduce two discriminators as in generative adversarial network (GAN) to transfer knowledge from two teachers to the student. The usage of discriminators relaxes the rigid coupling between the student and teachers. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets (i.e., CamRest and In-Car Assistant) demonstrate that TTOS significantly outperforms baseline methods.