Yifei Yuan


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Knowledge-enhanced Mixed-initiative Dialogue System for Emotional Support Conversations
Yang Deng | Wenxuan Zhang | Yifei Yuan | Wai Lam
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Unlike empathetic dialogues, the system in emotional support conversations (ESC) is expected to not only convey empathy for comforting the help-seeker, but also proactively assist in exploring and addressing their problems during the conversation. In this work, we study the problem of mixed-initiative ESC where the user and system can both take the initiative in leading the conversation. Specifically, we conduct a novel analysis on mixed-initiative ESC systems with a tailor-designed schema that divides utterances into different types with speaker roles and initiative types. Four emotional support metrics are proposed to evaluate the mixed-initiative interactions. The analysis reveals the necessity and challenges of building mixed-initiative ESC systems. In the light of this, we propose a knowledge-enhanced mixed-initiative framework (KEMI) for ESC, which retrieves actual case knowledge from a large-scale mental health knowledge graph for generating mixed-initiative responses. Experimental results on two ESC datasets show the superiority of KEMI in both content-preserving evaluation and mixed initiative related analyses.


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McQueen: a Benchmark for Multimodal Conversational Query Rewrite
Yifei Yuan | Chen Shi | Runze Wang | Liyi Chen | Feijun Jiang | Yuan You | Wai Lam
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The task of query rewrite aims to convert an in-context query to its fully-specified version where ellipsis and coreference are completed and referred-back according to the history context. Although much progress has been made, less efforts have been paid to real scenario conversations that involve drawing information from more than one modalities. In this paper, we propose the task of multimodal conversational query rewrite (McQR), which performs query rewrite under the multimodal visual conversation setting. We collect a large-scale dataset named McQueen based on manual annotation, which contains 15k visual conversations and over 80k queries where each one is associated with a fully-specified rewrite version. In addition, for entities appearing in the rewrite, we provide the corresponding image box annotation. We then use the McQueen dataset to benchmark a state-of-the-art method for effectively tackling the McQR task, which is based on a multimodal pre-trained model with pointer generator. Extensive experiments are performed to demonstrate the effectiveness of our model on this task.


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Aspect Sentiment Quad Prediction as Paraphrase Generation
Wenxuan Zhang | Yang Deng | Xin Li | Yifei Yuan | Lidong Bing | Wai Lam
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) has been extensively studied in recent years, which typically involves four fundamental sentiment elements, including the aspect category, aspect term, opinion term, and sentiment polarity. Existing studies usually consider the detection of partial sentiment elements, instead of predicting the four elements in one shot. In this work, we introduce the Aspect Sentiment Quad Prediction (ASQP) task, aiming to jointly detect all sentiment elements in quads for a given opinionated sentence, which can reveal a more comprehensive and complete aspect-level sentiment structure. We further propose a novel Paraphrase modeling paradigm to cast the ASQP task to a paraphrase generation process. On one hand, the generation formulation allows solving ASQP in an end-to-end manner, alleviating the potential error propagation in the pipeline solution. On the other hand, the semantics of the sentiment elements can be fully exploited by learning to generate them in the natural language form. Extensive experiments on benchmark datasets show the superiority of our proposed method and the capacity of cross-task transfer with the proposed unified Paraphrase modeling framework.


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Point-of-Interest Oriented Question Answering with Joint Inference of Semantic Matching and Distance Correlation
Yifei Yuan | Jingbo Zhou | Wai Lam
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Point-of-Interest (POI) oriented question answering (QA) aims to return a list of POIs given a question issued by a user. Recent advances in intelligent virtual assistants have opened the possibility of engaging the client software more actively in the provision of location-based services, thereby showing great promise for automatic POI retrieval. Some existing QA methods can be adopted on this task such as QA similarity calculation and semantic parsing using pre-defined rules. The returned results, however, are subject to inherent limitations due to the lack of the ability for handling some important POI related information, including tags, location entities, and proximity-related terms (e.g. “nearby”, “close”). In this paper, we present a novel deep learning framework integrated with joint inference to capture both tag semantic and geographic correlation between question and POIs. One characteristic of our model is to propose a special cross attention question embedding neural network structure to obtain question-to-POI and POI-to-question information. Besides, we utilize a skewed distribution to simulate the spatial relationship between questions and POIs. By measuring the results offered by the model against existing methods, we demonstrate its robustness and practicability, and supplement our conclusions with empirical evidence.