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Neural User Simulation for Corpus-based Policy Optimisation for Spoken Dialogue Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

User Simulators are one of the major tools that enable offline training of task-oriented dialogue systems. For this task the Agenda-Based User Simulator (ABUS) is often used. The ABUS is based on hand-crafted rules and its output is in semantic form. Issues arise from both properties such as limited diversity and the inability to interface a text-level belief tracker. This paper introduces the Neural User Simulator (NUS) whose behaviour is learned from a corpus and which generates natural language, hence needing a less labelled dataset than simulators generating a semantic output. In comparison to much of the past work on this topic, which evaluates user simulators on corpus-based metrics, we use the NUS to train the policy of a reinforcement learning based Spoken Dialogue System. The NUS is compared to the ABUS by evaluating the policies that were trained using the simulators. Cross-model evaluation is performed i.e. training on one simulator and testing on the other. Furthermore, the trained policies are tested on real users. In both evaluation tasks the NUS outperformed the ABUS.


End-to-End Task-Completion Neural Dialogue Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

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.


Discriminative Deep Dyna-Q: Robust Planning for Dialogue Policy Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

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.


How to Build User Simulators to Train RL-based Dialog Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

User simulators are essential for training reinforcement learning (RL) based dialog models. However, building a good user simulator that models real user behaviors is challenging. We propose a method of standardizing user simulator building that can be used by the community to compare dialog system quality using the same set of user simulators fairly. We present implementations of six user simulators trained with different dialog planning and generation methods. We then calculate a set of automatic metrics to evaluate the quality of these simulators both directly and indirectly. We also ask human users to assess the simulators directly and indirectly by rating the simulated dialogs and interacting with the trained systems. This paper presents a comprehensive evaluation framework for user simulator study and provides a better understanding of the pros and cons of different user simulators, as well as their impacts on the trained systems. 1 1 Introduction Reinforcement Learning has gained more and more attention in dialog system training because it treats the dialog planning as a sequential decision problem and focuses on long-term rewards (Su et al., 2017). However, RL requires interaction with the environment, and obtaining real human users to interact with the system is both time-consuming and labor-intensive. Therefore, building user simulators to interact with the system before deployment to real users becomes an economical choice (Williams et al., 2017; Li et al., 2016). But the performance of the user simulator has a direct impact on the trained RL policy.* Equal contribution. 1 The code and data are released at https://github.


Recent Advances in Deep Learning-based Dialogue Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Dialogue systems are a popular Natural Language Processing (NLP) task as it is promising in real-life applications. It is also a complicated task since many NLP tasks deserving study are involved. As a result, a multitude of novel works on this task are carried out, and most of them are deep learning-based due to the outstanding performance. In this survey, we mainly focus on the deep learning-based dialogue systems. We comprehensively review state-of-the-art research outcomes in dialogue systems and analyze them from two angles: model type and system type. Specifically, from the angle of model type, we discuss the principles, characteristics, and applications of different models that are widely used in dialogue systems. This will help researchers acquaint these models and see how they are applied in state-of-the-art frameworks, which is rather helpful when designing a new dialogue system. From the angle of system type, we discuss task-oriented and open-domain dialogue systems as two streams of research, providing insight into the hot topics related. Furthermore, we comprehensively review the evaluation methods and datasets for dialogue systems to pave the way for future research. Finally, some possible research trends are identified based on the recent research outcomes. To the best of our knowledge, this survey is the most comprehensive and up-to-date one at present in the area of dialogue systems and dialogue-related tasks, extensively covering the popular frameworks, topics, and datasets. Keywords: Dialogue Systems, Chatbots, Conversational AI, Task-oriented, Open Domain, Chit-chat, Question Answering, Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Information Retrieval, Deep Learning, Neural Networks, CNN, RNN, Hierarchical Recurrent Encoder-Decoder, Memory Networks, Attention, Transformer, Pointer Net, CopyNet, Reinforcement Learning, GANs, Knowledge Graph, Survey, Review