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A Hierarchical Latent Variable Encoder-Decoder Model for Generating Dialogues

AAAI Conferences

Sequential data often possesses hierarchical structures with complex dependencies between sub-sequences, such as found between the utterances in a dialogue. To model these dependencies in a generative framework, we propose a neural network-based generative architecture, with stochastic latent variables that span a variable number of time steps. We apply the proposed model to the task of dialogue response generation and compare it with other recent neural-network architectures. We evaluate the model performance through a human evaluation study. The experiments demonstrate that our model improves upon recently proposed models and that the latent variables facilitate both the generation of meaningful, long and diverse responses and maintaining dialogue state.


Unsupervised Context Rewriting for Open Domain Conversation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Context modeling has a pivotal role in open domain conversation. Existing works either use heuristic methods or jointly learn context modeling and response generation with an encoder-decoder framework. This paper proposes an explicit context rewriting method, which rewrites the last utterance by considering context history. We leverage pseudo-parallel data and elaborate a context rewriting network, which is built upon the CopyNet with the reinforcement learning method. The rewritten utterance is beneficial to candidate retrieval, explainable context modeling, as well as enabling to employ a single-turn framework to the multi-turn scenario. The empirical results show that our model outperforms baselines in terms of the rewriting quality, the multi-turn response generation, and the end-to-end retrieval-based chatbots.


Which Kind Is Better in Open-domain Multi-turn Dialog,Hierarchical or Non-hierarchical Models? An Empirical Study

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Currently, open-domain generative dialog systems have attracted considerable attention in academia and industry. Despite the success of single-turn dialog generation, multi-turn dialog generation is still a big challenge. So far, there are two kinds of models for open-domain multi-turn dialog generation: hierarchical and non-hierarchical models. Recently, some works have shown that the hierarchical models are better than non-hierarchical models under their experimental settings; meanwhile, some works also demonstrate the opposite conclusion. Due to the lack of adequate comparisons, it's not clear which kind of models are better in open-domain multi-turn dialog generation. Thus, in this paper, we will measure systematically nearly all representative hierarchical and non-hierarchical models over the same experimental settings to check which kind is better. Through extensive experiments, we have the following three important conclusions: (1) Nearly all hierarchical models are worse than non-hierarchical models in open-domain multi-turn dialog generation, except for the HRAN model. Through further analysis, the excellent performance of HRAN mainly depends on its word-level attention mechanism; (2) The performance of other hierarchical models will also obtain a great improvement if integrating the word-level attention mechanism into these models. The modified hierarchical models even significantly outperform the non-hierarchical models; (3) The reason why the word-level attention mechanism is so powerful for hierarchical models is because it can leverage context information more effectively, especially the fine-grained information. Besides, we have implemented all of the models and already released the codes.


Multiresolution Recurrent Neural Networks: An Application to Dialogue Response Generation

AAAI Conferences

We introduce a new class of models called multiresolution recurrent neural networks, which explicitly model natural language generation at multiple levels of abstraction. The models extend the sequence-to-sequence framework to generate two parallel stochastic processes: a sequence of high-level coarse tokens, and a sequence of natural language words (e.g. sentences). The coarse sequences follow a latent stochastic process with a factorial representation, which helps the models generalize to new examples. The coarse sequences can also incorporate task-specific knowledge, when available. In our experiments, the coarse sequences are extracted using automatic procedures, which are designed to capture compositional structure and semantics. These procedures enable training the multiresolution recurrent neural networks by maximizing the exact joint log-likelihood over both sequences. We apply the models to dialogue response generation in the technical support domain and compare them with several competing models. The multiresolution recurrent neural networks outperform competing models by a substantial margin, achieving state-of-the-art results according to both a human evaluation study and automatic evaluation metrics. Furthermore, experiments show the proposed models generate more fluent, relevant and goal-oriented responses.


Memory-Augmented Recurrent Networks for Dialogue Coherence

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Recent dialogue approaches operate by reading each word in a conversation history, and aggregating accrued dialogue information into a single state. This fixed-size vector is not expandable and must maintain a consistent format over time. Other recent approaches exploit an attention mechanism to extract useful information from past conversational utterances, but this introduces an increased computational complexity. In this work, we explore the use of the Neural Turing Machine (NTM) to provide a more permanent and flexible storage mechanism for maintaining dialogue coherence. Specifically, we introduce two separate dialogue architectures based on this NTM design. The first design features a sequence-to-sequence architecture with two separate NTM modules, one for each participant in the conversation. The second memory architecture incorporates a single NTM module, which stores parallel context information for both speakers. This second design also replaces the sequence-to-sequence architecture with a neural language model, to allow for longer context of the NTM and greater understanding of the dialogue history. We report perplexity performance for both models, and compare them to existing baselines.