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### Survey on Evaluation Methods for Dialogue Systems

In this paper we survey the methods and concepts developed for the evaluation of dialogue systems. Evaluation is a crucial part during the development process. Often, dialogue systems are evaluated by means of human evaluations and questionnaires. However, this tends to be very cost and time intensive. Thus, much work has been put into finding methods, which allow to reduce the involvement of human labour. In this survey, we present the main concepts and methods. For this, we differentiate between the various classes of dialogue systems (task-oriented dialogue systems, conversational dialogue systems, and question-answering dialogue systems). We cover each class by introducing the main technologies developed for the dialogue systems and then by presenting the evaluation methods regarding this class.

### ClassiNet -- Predicting Missing Features for Short-Text Classification

The fundamental problem in short-text classification is \emph{feature sparseness} -- the lack of feature overlap between a trained model and a test instance to be classified. We propose \emph{ClassiNet} -- a network of classifiers trained for predicting missing features in a given instance, to overcome the feature sparseness problem. Using a set of unlabeled training instances, we first learn binary classifiers as feature predictors for predicting whether a particular feature occurs in a given instance. Next, each feature predictor is represented as a vertex $v_i$ in the ClassiNet where a one-to-one correspondence exists between feature predictors and vertices. The weight of the directed edge $e_{ij}$ connecting a vertex $v_i$ to a vertex $v_j$ represents the conditional probability that given $v_i$ exists in an instance, $v_j$ also exists in the same instance. We show that ClassiNets generalize word co-occurrence graphs by considering implicit co-occurrences between features. We extract numerous features from the trained ClassiNet to overcome feature sparseness. In particular, for a given instance $\vec{x}$, we find similar features from ClassiNet that did not appear in $\vec{x}$, and append those features in the representation of $\vec{x}$. Moreover, we propose a method based on graph propagation to find features that are indirectly related to a given short-text. We evaluate ClassiNets on several benchmark datasets for short-text classification. Our experimental results show that by using ClassiNet, we can statistically significantly improve the accuracy in short-text classification tasks, without having to use any external resources such as thesauri for finding related features.

### Reasoning-Driven Question-Answering for Natural Language Understanding

Natural language understanding (NLU) of text is a fundamental challenge in AI, and it has received significant attention throughout the history of NLP research. This primary goal has been studied under different tasks, such as Question Answering (QA) and Textual Entailment (TE). In this thesis, we investigate the NLU problem through the QA task and focus on the aspects that make it a challenge for the current state-of-the-art technology. This thesis is organized into three main parts: In the first part, we explore multiple formalisms to improve existing machine comprehension systems. We propose a formulation for abductive reasoning in natural language and show its effectiveness, especially in domains with limited training data. Additionally, to help reasoning systems cope with irrelevant or redundant information, we create a supervised approach to learn and detect the essential terms in questions. In the second part, we propose two new challenge datasets. In particular, we create two datasets of natural language questions where (i) the first one requires reasoning over multiple sentences; (ii) the second one requires temporal common sense reasoning. We hope that the two proposed datasets will motivate the field to address more complex problems. In the final part, we present the first formal framework for multi-step reasoning algorithms, in the presence of a few important properties of language use, such as incompleteness, ambiguity, etc. We apply this framework to prove fundamental limitations for reasoning algorithms. These theoretical results provide extra intuition into the existing empirical evidence in the field.

### An Approach for Time-aware Domain-based Social Influence Prediction

Online Social Networks(OSNs) have established virtual platforms enabling people to express their opinions, interests and thoughts in a variety of contexts and domains, allowing legitimate users as well as spammers and other untrustworthy users to publish and spread their content. Hence, the concept of social trust has attracted the attention of information processors/data scientists and information consumers/business firms. One of the main reasons for acquiring the value of Social Big Data (SBD) is to provide frameworks and methodologies using which the credibility of OSNs users can be evaluated. These approaches should be scalable to accommodate large-scale social data. Hence, there is a need for well comprehending of social trust to improve and expand the analysis process and inferring the credibility of SBD. Given the exposed environment's settings and fewer limitations related to OSNs, the medium allows legitimate and genuine users as well as spammers and other low trustworthy users to publish and spread their content. Hence, this paper presents an approach incorporates semantic analysis and machine learning modules to measure and predict users' trustworthiness in numerous domains in different time periods. The evaluation of the conducted experiment validates the applicability of the incorporated machine learning techniques to predict highly trustworthy domain-based users.

### Cognitive Science in the era of Artificial Intelligence: A roadmap for reverse-engineering the infant language-learner

During their first years of life, infants learn the language(s) of their environment at an amazing speed despite large cross cultural variations in amount and complexity of the available language input. Understanding this simple fact still escapes current cognitive and linguistic theories. Recently, spectacular progress in the engineering science, notably, machine learning and wearable technology, offer the promise of revolutionizing the study of cognitive development. Machine learning offers powerful learning algorithms that can achieve human-like performance on many linguistic tasks. Wearable sensors can capture vast amounts of data, which enable the reconstruction of the sensory experience of infants in their natural environment. The project of 'reverse engineering' language development, i.e., of building an effective system that mimics infant's achievements appears therefore to be within reach. Here, we analyze the conditions under which such a project can contribute to our scientific understanding of early language development. We argue that instead of defining a sub-problem or simplifying the data, computational models should address the full complexity of the learning situation, and take as input the raw sensory signals available to infants. This implies that (1) accessible but privacy-preserving repositories of home data be setup and widely shared, and (2) models be evaluated at different linguistic levels through a benchmark of psycholinguist tests that can be passed by machines and humans alike, (3) linguistically and psychologically plausible learning architectures be scaled up to real data using probabilistic/optimization principles from machine learning. We discuss the feasibility of this approach and present preliminary results.