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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.

### Salesforce research

Deep learning has significantly improved state-of-the-art performance for natural language processing tasks like machine translation, summarization, question answering, and text classification. Each of these tasks is typically studied with a specific metric, and performance is often measured on a set of standard benchmark datasets. This has led to the development of architectures designed specifically for those tasks and metrics, but it does not necessarily promote the emergence of general NLP models, those which can perform well across a wide variety of NLP tasks. In order to explore the possibility of such models as well as the tradeoffs that arise in optimizing for them, we introduce the Natural Language Decathlon (decaNLP). The goal of the Decathlon is to explore models that generalize to all ten tasks and investigate how such models differ from those trained for single tasks.