This paper presents a Discriminative Deep Dyna-Q (D3Q) approach to improving the effectiveness and robustness of Deep Dyna-Q (DDQ), a recently proposed framework that extends the Dyna-Q algorithm to integrate planning for task-completion dialogue policy learning. To obviate DDQ's high dependency on the quality of simulated experiences, we incorporate an RNN-based discriminator in D3Q to differentiate simulated experience from real user experience in order to control the quality of training data. Experiments show that D3Q significantly outperforms DDQ by controlling the quality of simulated experience used for planning. The effectiveness and robustness of D3Q is further demonstrated in a domain extension setting, where the agent's capability of adapting to a changing environment is tested.
This paper presents a new approach that extends Deep Dyna-Q (DDQ) by incorporating a Budget-Conscious Scheduling (BCS) to best utilize a fixed, small amount of user interactions (budget) for learning task-oriented dialogue agents. BCS consists of (1) a Poisson-based global scheduler to allocate budget over different stages of training; (2) a controller to decide at each training step whether the agent is trained using real or simulated experiences; (3) a user goal sampling module to generate the experiences that are most effective for policy learning. Experiments on a movie-ticket booking task with simulated and real users show that our approach leads to significant improvements in success rate over the state-of-the-art baselines given the fixed budget.
One of the major drawbacks of modularized task-completion dialogue systems is that each module is trained individually, which presents several challenges. For example, downstream modules are affected by earlier modules, and the performance of the entire system is not robust to the accumulated errors. This paper presents a novel end-to-end learning framework for task-completion dialogue systems to tackle such issues. Our neural dialogue system can directly interact with a structured database to assist users in accessing information and accomplishing certain tasks. The reinforcement learning based dialogue manager offers robust capabilities to handle noises caused by other components of the dialogue system. Our experiments in a movie-ticket booking domain show that our end-to-end system not only outperforms modularized dialogue system baselines for both objective and subjective evaluation, but also is robust to noises as demonstrated by several systematic experiments with different error granularity and rates specific to the language understanding module.
Training task-completion dialogue agents with reinforcement learning usually requires a large number of real user experiences. The Dyna-Q algorithm extends Q-learning by integrating a world model, and thus can effectively boost training efficiency using simulated experiences generated by the world model. The effectiveness of Dyna-Q, however, depends on the quality of the world model - or implicitly, the pre-specified ratio of real vs. simulated experiences used for Q-learning. To this end, we extend the recently proposed Deep Dyna-Q (DDQ) framework by integrating a switcher that automatically determines whether to use a real or simulated experience for Q-learning. Furthermore, we explore the use of active learning for improving sample efficiency, by encouraging the world model to generate simulated experiences in the state-action space where the agent has not (fully) explored. Our results show that by combining switcher and active learning, the new framework named as Switch-based Active Deep Dyna-Q (Switch-DDQ), leads to significant improvement over DDQ and Q-learning baselines in both simulation and human evaluations.
This proposal introduces a Dialogue Challenge for building end-to-end task-completion dialogue systems, with the goal of encouraging the dialogue research community to collaborate and benchmark on standard datasets and unified experimental environment. In this special session, we will release human-annotated conversational data in three domains (movie-ticket booking, restaurant reservation, and taxi booking), as well as an experiment platform with built-in simulators in each domain, for training and evaluation purposes. The final submitted systems will be evaluated both in simulated setting and by human judges.