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A Survey of Available Corpora for Building Data-Driven Dialogue Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

During the past decade, several areas of speech and language understanding have witnessed substantial breakthroughs from the use of data-driven models. In the area of dialogue systems, the trend is less obvious, and most practical systems are still built through significant engineering and expert knowledge. Nevertheless, several recent results suggest that data-driven approaches are feasible and quite promising. To facilitate research in this area, we have carried out a wide survey of publicly available datasets suitable for data-driven learning of dialogue systems. We discuss important characteristics of these datasets, how they can be used to learn diverse dialogue strategies, and their other potential uses. We also examine methods for transfer learning between datasets and the use of external knowledge. Finally, we discuss appropriate choice of evaluation metrics for the learning objective.


Building A User-Centric and Content-Driven Socialbot

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

To build Sounding Board, we develop a system architecture that is capable of accommodating dialog strategies that we designed for socialbot conversations. The architecture consists of a multi-dimensional language understanding module for analyzing user utterances, a hierarchical dialog management framework for dialog context tracking and complex dialog control, and a language generation process that realizes the response plan and makes adjustments for speech synthesis. Additionally, we construct a new knowledge base to power the socialbot by collecting social chat content from a variety of sources. An important contribution of the system is the synergy between the knowledge base and the dialog management, i.e., the use of a graph structure to organize the knowledge base that makes dialog control very efficient in bringing related content to the discussion. Using the data collected from Sounding Board during the competition, we carry out in-depth analyses of socialbot conversations and user ratings which provide valuable insights in evaluation methods for socialbots. We additionally investigate a new approach for system evaluation and diagnosis that allows scoring individual dialog segments in the conversation. Finally, observing that socialbots suffer from the issue of shallow conversations about topics associated with unstructured data, we study the problem of enabling extended socialbot conversations grounded on a document. To bring together machine reading and dialog control techniques, a graph-based document representation is proposed, together with methods for automatically constructing the graph. Using the graph-based representation, dialog control can be carried out by retrieving nodes or moving along edges in the graph. To illustrate the usage, a mixed-initiative dialog strategy is designed for socialbot conversations on news articles.


Survey on Evaluation Methods for Dialogue Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

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

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

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.


Machine Learning with World Knowledge: The Position and Survey

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Machine learning has become pervasive in multiple domains, impacting a wide variety of applications, such as knowledge discovery and data mining, natural language processing, information retrieval, computer vision, social and health informatics, ubiquitous computing, etc. Two essential problems of machine learning are how to generate features and how to acquire labels for machines to learn. Particularly, labeling large amount of data for each domain-specific problem can be very time consuming and costly. It has become a key obstacle in making learning protocols realistic in applications. In this paper, we will discuss how to use the existing general-purpose world knowledge to enhance machine learning processes, by enriching the features or reducing the labeling work. We start from the comparison of world knowledge with domain-specific knowledge, and then introduce three key problems in using world knowledge in learning processes, i.e., explicit and implicit feature representation, inference for knowledge linking and disambiguation, and learning with direct or indirect supervision. Finally we discuss the future directions of this research topic.