Ziming Li


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AMOA: Global Acoustic Feature Enhanced Modal-Order-Aware Network for Multimodal Sentiment Analysis
Ziming Li | Yan Zhou | Weibo Zhang | Yaxin Liu | Chuanpeng Yang | Zheng Lian | Songlin Hu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

In recent years, multimodal sentiment analysis (MSA) has attracted more and more interest, which aims to predict the sentiment polarity expressed in a video. Existing methods typically 1) treat three modal features (textual, acoustic, visual) equally, without distinguishing the importance of different modalities; and 2) split the video into frames, leading to missing the global acoustic information. In this paper, we propose a global Acoustic feature enhanced Modal-Order-Aware network (AMOA) to address these problems. Firstly, a modal-order-aware network is designed to obtain the multimodal fusion feature. This network integrates the three modalities in a certain order, which makes the modality at the core position matter more. Then, we introduce the global acoustic feature of the whole video into our model. Since the global acoustic feature and multimodal fusion feature originally reside in their own spaces, contrastive learning is further employed to align them before concatenation. Experiments on two public datasets show that our model outperforms the state-of-the-art models. In addition, we also generalize our model to the sentiment with more complex semantics, such as sarcasm detection. Our model also achieves state-of-the-art performance on a widely used sarcasm dataset.


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Guided Dialogue Policy Learning without Adversarial Learning in the Loop
Ziming Li | Sungjin Lee | Baolin Peng | Jinchao Li | Julia Kiseleva | Maarten de Rijke | Shahin Shayandeh | Jianfeng Gao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Reinforcement learning methods have emerged as a popular choice for training an efficient and effective dialogue policy. However, these methods suffer from sparse and unstable reward signals returned by a user simulator only when a dialogue finishes. Besides, the reward signal is manually designed by human experts, which requires domain knowledge. Recently, a number of adversarial learning methods have been proposed to learn the reward function together with the dialogue policy. However, to alternatively update the dialogue policy and the reward model on the fly, we are limited to policy-gradient-based algorithms, such as REINFORCE and PPO. Moreover, the alternating training of a dialogue agent and the reward model can easily get stuck in local optima or result in mode collapse. To overcome the listed issues, we propose to decompose the adversarial training into two steps. First, we train the discriminator with an auxiliary dialogue generator and then incorporate a derived reward model into a common reinforcement learning method to guide the dialogue policy learning. This approach is applicable to both on-policy and off-policy reinforcement learning methods. Based on our extensive experimentation, we can conclude the proposed method: (1) achieves a remarkable task success rate using both on-policy and off-policy reinforcement learning methods; and (2) has potential to transfer knowledge from existing domains to a new domain.

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Rethinking Supervised Learning and Reinforcement Learning in Task-Oriented Dialogue Systems
Ziming Li | Julia Kiseleva | Maarten de Rijke
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Dialogue policy learning for task-oriented dialogue systems has enjoyed great progress recently mostly through employing reinforcement learning methods. However, these approaches have become very sophisticated. It is time to re-evaluate it. Are we really making progress developing dialogue agents only based on reinforcement learning? We demonstrate how (1) traditional supervised learning together with (2) a simulator-free adversarial learning method can be used to achieve performance comparable to state-of-the-art reinforcement learning-based methods. First, we introduce a simple dialogue action decoder to predict the appropriate actions. Then, the traditional multi-label classification solution for dialogue policy learning is extended by adding dense layers to improve the dialogue agent performance. Finally, we employ the Gumbel-Softmax estimator to alternatively train the dialogue agent and the dialogue reward model without using reinforcement learning. Based on our extensive experimentation, we can conclude the proposed methods can achieve more stable and higher performance with fewer efforts, such as the domain knowledge required to design a user simulator and the intractable parameter tuning in reinforcement learning. Our main goal is not to beat RL with supervised learning, but to demonstrate the value of rethinking the role of reinforcement learning and supervised learning in optimizing task-oriented dialogue systems.